Producers enjoy fruits of New Year price hike
High demand and stock shortages hold quotes
XFactoR had its 'Jedward'. Now, Irish farmers are about to have their own Jedward courtesy of the successes of Messrs Bryan and Downey in the recent IFA elections.
And farmers have definitely enjoyed some sort of an X Factor in the sheep trade over the past two months.
My own opinion on it is that the key driver to the significant and continuous rises in that period was the lively demand for live exports. Nothing can beat a bit of competition and the last couple of months has proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
When I did my first sheep report for last year the quotes varied from 345c/kg to 350c/kg plus the bonus. Today, thankfully, the quotes are up at 440c/kg to 450c/kg plus the bonus. This is, give or take, a euro/kg or €22/lamb.
Of course, the weather conditions over the Christmas season had a bearing as well with road conditions preventing a lot of farmers from travelling and as a result supplies remained very tight. Factories have been at their wit's end trying to secure adequate numbers to keep their customers satisfied.
There have been many reports of prices well above the quotes being paid, with 470c/kg to 475c/kg easily got last week around the country. I did hear on pretty sound authority that at least one factory paid as high as 490c/kg up to 22kg for a group of well-finished lambs in the second half of last week.
Most farmers have been negotiating prices and carcass weights that will return prices of €100+/lamb for their stock over the past few weeks.
As for this week's quotes, the western plants of Kepak Athleague and Dawn Ballyhaunis are heading the table with their base of 450c/kg plus the bonus.
Moyvalley is quoting an all-in 450c/kg, while Kepak Hacketstown and Kildare Chilling are on 440c/kg plus the bonus.
Commenting on the trade IFA's Henry Burns said that it is now clear that the strong domestic demand in Britain and reduced product on other export markets was giving factories a clear run to pass back a much better share of the retail price to the farmer. He added that this was essential as production costs were very high at this time of the year.
Quotes for cull ewes remain in the 200c/kg to 220c/kg range.
Kildare Chilling is at the higher end, while Kepak Hacketstown, Dawn Ballyhaunis and Moyvalley are on 200c/kg. Kepak Athleague is quoting 210c/kg for ewes.
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