Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Quotes steady themselves after a 10c/kg drop

Joe Healy

Like the Limerick hurlers in the second half on Sunday, the lamb trade appears to have steadied again after a wobbly patch. Whether or not lamb prices will replicate the success of the Treaty men and push on to a winning position remains to be seen.

I do think – based on the solid information that 550c/kg was paid in the west yesterday – that the factories have the capability to increase returns to farmers. Following such an expensive spring, it is imperative that processors pass on the maximum price possible to the producers. The 550c/kg payment proves they can do that. Despite what they say about the trade or supplies, they are anxious for stock and have the room to increase prices.

I am aware of a few farmers who have parked loyalty for the moment and have enjoyed financial success by shopping around. Every 10c/kg in price is worth an extra €2/lamb and an extra 0.5kg in weight is worth an extra €2.60-2.70.

Compared to last Tuesday, quotes have fallen by 10c/kg. However, this drop took place on Tuesday and prices have more or less steadied since.

All of the plants are offering a base quote of 520c/kg. This leaves Kildare Chilling in first place, by virtue of its extra Quality Assurance bonus of 5c/kg and the normal 5c/kg top-up for U grades.

Dawn Ballyhaunis, Kepak Athleague and ICM Navan tie for the silver medal with their quote of 520c/kg plus the bonus. As you will see from the table, the same quote from Kepak Hacketstown was for yesterday only. ICM Camolin and Moyvalley Meats were not offering a bonus with their all-in quote of 520c/kg.

With the hogget supply almost at an end, only Kildare and Kepak Athleague are bothering to quote. Kildare is offering a base of 450c/kg plus the two 5c/kg bonuses and Kepak is on an all-in figure of 460c/kg.

IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said tight supplies of lambs had helped prices recover somewhat as factories struggled to secure adequate numbers at lower prices. He added that, with markets returning over 600c/kg, all factories had an opportunity to restore prices to a base of 550c/kg.

Also Read

Three plants – Kepak Athleague and the two ICM plants- are offering 190c/kg for cull ewes, while Dawn Meats, Kildare Chilling and Kepak Hacketstown are quoting 180c/kg.

Bord Bia reported a drop in the trade last week, despite lower supplies. However trade was not being helped by sluggish demand levels across our key export markets.

Quotes for spring lamb fell to around €5.20/kg, with more available for Quality Assured lamb. Prices paid for cull ewes were €1.80-1.90/kg. To date this year, sheep supplies are 137,200 head higher than last year.

Trade across the UK eased slightly this week, reflecting a slow down in export demand from France. By the weekend, new season lamb at live markets across England and Wales were making the equivalent of €6.12/kg deadweight.

In France, trade remains slower than usual, due to strong French Lacaune lamb supplies still being marketed. However, these supplies are beginning to tighten, which should help boost demand levels for Irish product. By the end of the week, Irish Grade1 lamb was making €5.76-6.07/kg for better lots of lamb. French Lacaune lamb is making around €6.30/kg.


Sheep marts sales got off to an uneasy start last week after the factories attempts to drop prices. However the trade levelled out and remained solid for the second half of the week and appeared pretty firm again yesterday morning at Athenry, Fermoy and Kilkenny.

Overall, the majority of the well fleshed lambs made €55-70 with their weight. Lighter types sold for €48-55 over. Fat cull ewes sold for €70-100/hd, while most store ewes made €50-65. Young ewes with lambs at foot sold for €130-185 while older lots made €75-125.

Fermoy, with over 400 animals, was probably the sharpest of the three sales. Heavy lambs sold for €110-127 or €60-75 with the €/kg. Factory lambs made €50-60 over. Kilkenny reported a good sale as the butcher lambs sold for €111-125/hd. Factory type lambs sold for €88-120 or €45-74 over the €/kg.

At Athenry Mart, finished lambs sold for €100-110 each or €55-64 with their weight.

Dowra Mart reported a firm trade on Saturday. Fat lambs made €80-105 each and the best of the hoggets on offer sold for €80-110. Stores made €60-80 each. Better, younger ewes with lambs at foot sold for €120-180. Older ewes with lambs made €75-115. Heavy cull ewes sold for €60-85 while ewes for feeding made €35-60 each.

Nicely produced lambs over 40kg sold for €95-108 up in Mayo/Sligo Mart, while at Tuam mart, lamb prices ranged from €2.00/kg to €2.43/kg. The best lambs made up to €121 or €63 over the weight. Ewes with lambs at foot sold for €118-160. Cull ewes made €50-90 each.

Carnew had 1,250 sheep on offer but prices for spring lambs fell by €3/hd. Butcher and factory lambs sold for €94-114/hd or €45-63 over the €/kg. Store lambs sold for €75-86 or €40-45 over the weight. Cull ewes sold for €35-94. Ewes with twin lambs at foot sold for €130-185 while ewes with singles made €77-160.

The best sellers at Mountbellew Mart were cull ewes and fleshy lambs, while hoggets and ewes with lambs at foot met a slightly easier trade. A wide range in quality resulted in hoggets selling for a low price of €78-100 to a top price of €127 paid for ewe hoggets. Ewes with lambs at foot sold for €110-144. Cull ewes made €60-104. Fleshed lambs sold for €105-115, with a top price of €124 paid for 54kg. In general, prices ranged from €54 over to €68 over the weight.

Irish Independent