Farm Ireland

Friday 23 February 2018

Price slippages could be first sign of turning point ahead

There was mixed news on sheep quotes for farmers.
There was mixed news on sheep quotes for farmers.

Joe Healy

While the election counts over the weekend threw up a mixture of good and bad results for the candidates, it is a similar story with the sheep quotes for farmers.

If anything, this is probably too positive an overview. Even though a quick glance at the table might show not much change, on closer examination you will see that Dawn Ballyhaunis were not in a position to quote when contacted yesterday morning, Kepak Athleague's quote was for yesterday only and Moyvalley are back by 10c/kg.

None of these three signs are good and generally point to a sluggish week ahead, but, having said that, factories were anxious for stock over the weekend and lambs were being killed yesterday at up to 620c/kg.

Kildare remain top of the pile with their unchanged base quote of 595c/kg plus their 5c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus on top of the 5c/kg for U grades. The ICM plants are also unchanged at 590c/kg plus 10c/kg for QA lambs.

Kepak's base for yesterday was also 590c/kg and they are paying a 6c/kg QA bonus. Moyvalley were offering an all-in quote of 590c/kg, which reflected a drop of 10c/kg since last Tuesday.

The hoggets are almost at an end, with some plants only reporting a trickle of them at the moment.

Kildare are offering a base quote of 540c/kg plus the two 5c/kg top-ups. Meanwhile, Kepak are down 10c/kg at 530c/kg plus 6c/kg QA.

Commenting on the trade, the IFA's John Lynskey said that farmers were securing prices of 615-620c/kg for lambs and 570-580c/kg for hoggets.

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Both ICMs and Kildare Chilling are on 250c/kg for the cull ewes. This reflects a 10c/kg rise from the ICM plants.

However, Newton's third law stated that for every action there was an equal and opposite reaction. He hadn't cull ewes in mind, but Kepak Athleague have done the opposite to the ICM and have lowered their quote by 10c/kg to 230c/kg. Top prices I heard as paid elsewhere varied between 260c/kg and 270c/kg.

Elsewhere, at the latest working European forecast for sheep meat, the general consensus points towards a further reduction in output in 2014, which is expected to help prices.

Sheepmeat output in the EU is forecast to contract by almost 2pc in 2014. This decline in production is being largely driven by lower output in France, Spain, Germany, Britain and Ireland.

However, increased Italian production is set to offset this decline somewhat.

EU exports of sheepmeat and live animals continue to increase, with exports up 34pc to 74,467t in carcase weight equivalent in 2013. Hong Kong and Libya accounted for over 60pc of these exports.

Higher imports were recorded into the EU in 2013, with shipments up 5pc at around 212,000t. This is mainly driven by imports from New Zealand, who accounted for over 84pc of imports last year.


The mart trade held up reasonably well during the week and yesterday's sales, especially down in Fermoy, provided a decent start to the week.

A top price of €141 was paid for 50kg or €91 with the €1/kg. A number of well-fleshed lambs of 44-50kg made €80-88 over the weight, while others sold for €70-80 over.

The 37-42kg types were generally making €60-70 with their weight.

The good lamb in Athenry was selling for €65-77 over the weight, in a range from €110 to €125. Lighter lambs were moving at €57-64 over.

Heavy ewe hoggets sold for €130-148. Prices for cull ewes ran from €60 to €126.

If you have good heavy hoggets or heavy lambs the mart is by far the better option as cut off weights in the factories will penalise you severely.

A farmer looking for replacements for breeding will give you a fair price for the hoggets, while the butcher trade remains strong for the heavier type lambs.

Carnew reported bigger numbers and a strong trade for all classes and especially for the cull ewes which sold for €65-123. Prices for ewe hoggets ran from €110 to €127.

The fleshed wether hoggets sold for €108-123. Nicely fleshed new season lambs were making €112-127 or from €72 to €82 with the €1/kg. Store lambs made €75-100.

Dowra Mart reported a stronger sheep trade on Saturday last with good demand for a big entry of ewes with lambs at foot. Young ewes with twins at foot made €160-220. Older ewes with twins were making €100-150.

The best of the ewes with singles ranged from €120-170, while older lots with singles were making €70-110.

Indo Farming