Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 February 2018

Prices still in good health

Joe Healy

Sheep farmers are as satisfied with the trade at the moment as Barack Obama is with Congress after he finally got his health reform bill passed.

His majority of around 3pc is similar to the average increase in quotes for lambs across all of the plants today. Some are up by 10c/kg with the rest showing an increase of 15c/kg.

In any case, this positive movement means all factories are more or less on the same base quote of 480c/kg plus the bonus.

Moyvalley is slightly different by virtue of its quote being an all-in quote of 480c/kg.

Most of the factory sources are saying that supplies continue to be tight but adequate to satisfy the market at the moment as demand is a little sluggish. Having said that, we are now in what should be a key week for the trade with the major bulk of stock for the Easter market being bought over the next seven to 10 days.


The factory men are also freely admitting that most farmers are just not entertaining them at anything less than €5/kg. Of course, there are quite a few farmers selling without making a price beforehand and undoubtedly, they are getting paid what the factories are quoting and probably losing somewhere between 20-25c/kg. This could be as much as €4.50-€5/head.

I suppose the other thing to watch out for is to make sure lambs are properly finished.

Also Read

Recent climatic conditions have ensured that there is little or no grass so the lambs only have what you give them. While it is expensive, a bit of extra meal could be money well spent.

The scarce supplies are ensuring that the ball remains in the farmers' court and IFA's James Murphy said that factories were paying as high as 510c/kg to secure adequate numbers with farmers bargaining successfully to get higher carcass weights.

The cull ewes are keeping pace with the lambs with an improvement of 10-20c/kg evident in most of the plants. A jump of 10c/kg in Kildare is enough to keep it on top at 280c/kg.

The two ICMs have increased their quotes by 20c/kg to leave them at 270c/kg. Kepak Hacketstown is on 260c/kg while Athleague is quoting 250c/kg. Dawn Ballyhaunis is unchanged at 220c/kg.

The sheep trade has improved in response to tight supplies and a strong domestic demand, which is helping to offset a slower export trade according to Bord Bia.

Irish Independent