Plants play coy as demand increases
In a side-step that would make Munster's super sub JJ Hanrahan proud, the sheep factories have succeeded in keeping base quote increases to the absolute bare minimum. After Kepak Athleague paved the way for other plants last week with its base of 460c/kg, the least that could be expected was the rest would match that figure. That is what happened -- no more, no less.
The move puts Kildare Chilling ahead of the rest by virtue of its extra Quality Assurance bonus of 5c/kg on top of the normal U grade bonus. The Kildare quote for suitable lambs is now 470c/kg, which matches the all-in quote of 470c/kg on offer from its neighbour, Moyvalley Meats. Thereafter, the two ICM plants, Dawn Ballyhaunis and both Kepak plants are offering a base of 460c/kg plus the bonus.
If you are selling at the moment make sure you bargain hard as many farmers are securing prices of up to 480c/kg, which could mean a difference of €3.35-3.45/lamb. For Christmas week, most factories will be killing on Monday, December 23 and again on the following Friday, December 27.
IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said the lamb market was positive and while 480c/kg was widely available, some farmers with large numbers of in-spec lambs were negotiating prices above that. He added that the mart trade was very strong for fit lambs and offered a real alternative for sellers.
There has been no change to the quotes for cull ewes. The ICM plants, Kildare Chilling and Kepak Hacketstown remain on 200c/kg, while both western plants continue to offer 190c/kg.
The strong sheep trade continued last week, according to Bord Bia, as good domestic demand, coupled with tighter supplies, helped trade as the build up to the Christmas period continues.
Quotes for lamb increased during the week to a base price of €4.60-4.70/kg as the week progressed. Prices paid for cull ewes remained firm with prices generally making €1.90-2.00/kg.
Sheep supplies for the year are running 8pc higher than comparable 2012 figures.