Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

Prices top 500c/kg as ice hampers supplies

Joe Healy

Lamb quotes are rising like some of our TDs' expenses. Since this day last week, almost all plants have upped their quotes by anything from 20-30c/kg.

Moyvalley Meats is at the top end of these increases and its 30c/kg jump sees it lead the way with an all-in 480c/kg.

Just 11 weeks ago some of the plants were quoting as low as 335c/kg, with the best of them only 5c/kg better at 340c/kg. So, on quotes alone, there is a positive difference of 145c/kg. Put this on a 24kg carcass and it is worth a much needed €35 extra for each lamb.

Therefore, there has been a 44pc increase in quotes since the end of last October. Better still is the fact that plants are freely willing to pay well above those quotes, with €5/kg achieved from several of them since last Thursday.

There was a rumour doing the rounds here in the west that at least one farmer got a price well in excess of this figure but, for the most part, farmers are holding out and getting the 500c/kg, and bargaining to get this up to 24kg.

Next to Moyvalley are the two Kepak plants with a base of 470c/kg plus 5c/kg. Kildare Chilling and Dawn Ballyhaunis are quoting 460c/kg plus the bonus. ICM Camolin's quote of 450c/kg plus 6c/kg was for yesterday only and neither of the ICMs are quoting for today.

New IFA sheep committee chairman James Murphy said that with lamb supplies very scarce factories were having to pay 500c/kg and above in order to secure adequate numbers. He urged farmers to bargain on price and carcass weight before agreeing to sell.

If we thought that 44pc over an 11-week period was good, then a 20pc increase in one week is fantastic news for anyone selling cull ewes. This is the increase that has occurred in Kildare Chilling over the past seven days. They are now on 240c/kg, as are both Kepak plants. Moyvalley is unchanged at 200c/kg.

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Trade for lamb has firmed, according to Bord Bia, in response to tight supplies caused by the severe weather conditions that currently prevail throughout northern Europe. As the week progressed, base quotes for lambs at export meat plants were in the 450-475c/kg range, with quotes of 440c/kg reported for the light lamb as very tight domestic supplies struggle to match demand levels in the Mediterranean region.

Meanwhile, the weather continued to disrupt marts around the country towards the end of last week and at the weekend.

Carnew Mart had what manager David Quinn described as a "token sale" on Thursday -- as a result of the icy conditions -- where there were only 100 sheep offered for sale.

Store lambs made €30-45 over, lighter cull ewes made €40-80/hd and the heavier ewes made €80-127/hd.

Icy roads also forced the closure of Saturday's cattle sale.

Mountbellew Mart reported a very strong trade for heavier and fleshy hoggets for its first sale of the year.

Irish Independent