Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Price hikes give real boost to sheep trade

Joe Healy

As Eamonn Dunphy might say, it wasn't a good week for sheep farmers; it was a great week. First of all we had the long-awaited announcement by Minister Brendan Smith of the grassland sheep scheme which will be worth around €10/ewe.

I do not wish to take away from anyone here, but former IFA sheep chairman Henry Burns put an enormous amount of time and effort into securing this during his term.

A massive improvement in weather conditions will help to ease grass and lambing worries. Finally, I am quite confident in saying that, since I began doing this column six or seven years ago, the table of quotes across all categories has never read so well.

An increase of 30-40c/kg puts both Kepak plants top, quoting a base of 600c/kg plus the bonus for the spring lambs, although Athleague's quote was for yesterday only.

Moyvalley is on an all-in 600c/kg. Kildare and the two ICMs are on 580c/kg plus 6c/kg, while Dawn Ballyhaunis didn't quote for new-season stock. If you are selling then bargain hard because limited numbers are resulting in some farmers getting 620c/kg up to 21kg carcass weight.

The hoggets were also much improved, with quotes up by 10-20c/kg. Both ICM plants and Kepak Hacketstown are on 500c/kg plus the bonus. Moyvalley is again on the all-in 500c/kg. In the west, Kepak and Dawn are offering a base 490c/kg plus 6c/kg, while across the country Kildare Chilling is, unusually, propping up the table with its 480c/kg plus the bonus.

Several farmers are successfully bargaining for 520c/kg. The factories are almost all freely admitting that supplies are relatively tight across the board. Top prices of 530c/kg were achieved for hoggets, said the IFA's James Murphy.

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Irish Independent