Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Quotes rise to new five-week high


Joe Healy

Presidential hopeful Sean Gallagher might have started off as a small farmer but good news from the most recent polls sees him as front runner to be our next head of state. Sheep farmers also received a boost over the past week as quotes and prices rose back up to levels that they haven't been at for the past five weeks.

There are several reasons for this increase, including a notable tightening of supplies both here and in the UK, as well as increased activity among live exporters as they stock up for the upcoming Muslim festival, which begins on November 7. The French market for lamb has also improved.

Quotes from the processors have risen by 5-10c/kg since this day last week. Kildare Chilling is setting the pace with its base of 450c/kg being topped up by the 6c/kg and the 5c/kg bonuses for quality assured U grades, reflecting an improvement of 10c/kg. This increase is matched by the Kepak plants, ICM plants and Dawn Ballyhaunis, who are all quoting 450c/kg plus the bonus. Moyvalley's all-in quote has increased by 5c/kg to 455c/kg.

Despite this rise in quotes, factories are still having to pay well in excess of those figures to secure adequate supplies.


Farmers are successfully bargaining for 470-475c/kg and there are some reports of even more being paid, with finishers negotiating 470c/kg to 22.5kg or 475c/kg to 23kg. Either way, you are talking about a price of €107-108/lamb.

A few of the factory agents were anxious to point out that farmers should try to kill their lambs at a carcass weight of 22kg because of the difficulty in moving heavier lambs.

IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said farmers needed to bargain in order to maximise the value of their lambs. He added that factories were willing to pay up to 475c/kg to get stock from limited supplies.

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Quotes for cull ewes have followed the lamb trend and prices from most plants have increased by 5-10c/kg. Again, Kildare Chilling leads the way with a quote of 270c/lkg. Both ICM plants and Kepak Hacketstown are up to 265c/kg, while a 10c/kg improvement from Dawn sees it move up to 260c/kg. Kepak Athleague remains at 250c/kg while Moyvalley is not quoting.

The sheep trade firmed slightly over the past week, according to Bord Bia, as UK volumes slowed. Demand across key export markets is slowly gathering momentum as the onset of the Eid al-Adha festival approaches.

Quotes for lambs for most of the week edged up slightly to €4.50kg. The cull trade remained unchanged, with quotes ranging from €2.60-2.65/kg in response to tight supplies and good demand for manufacturing product.

Sheep supplies to date are running more than 1pc higher than the corresponding period last year. In the UK, trade recovered significantly as supplies weakened throughout the course of the week with some slight improvement in French market demand also evident. By the weekend, live market prices were unchanged at the equivalent of €4.71/kg including VAT for lambs.

In France, prices for limited volumes of Irish grade 1 lamb were up to €4.73kg including VAT by the end of the week as supplies from the UK weakened.

Indo Farming