Quotes up 5-10c/kg on all young stock
If Brian Lenihan wants to portray a positive image of our country to EU Economics Commissioner Olli Rehn, currently visiting Ireland, he should ensure that he either brings him to a few sheep marts or to meet some sheep farmers.
The sheep industry appears intent to continue to move in the opposite direction to the economy. There is further good news this week for the lamb and ewe trade with quotes up by 5-10c/kg in all plants for the young stock, while the cull ewes continue to be quoted at a strong 250c/kg in the five plants that are quoting. Dawn and Moyvalley are not quoting for ewes this week.
The improvement to the lamb quotes more or less leaves all the processors on the same figure. A 10c/kg jump sees Moyvalley on the highest base with its all-in quote of 435c/kg. This is only bettered by Kildare Chilling by virtue of its extra 5c/kg quality assurance bonus added to its base of 430c/kg plus 6c/kg for the U grades.
Both ICMs and Dawn's 10c/kg increase brings them level with the two Kepak plants, which improved by 5c/kg, at a base of 430c/kg plus the bonus. Most of the factories are offering a similar price for the lighter-type lambs, provided they are suitably fleshed.
Farmers are bargaining successfully for prices well in excess of those quotes because, at the moment, the ball remains in their court as factories are anxious to secure adequate supplies from relatively limited numbers on offer in order to satisfy their extra requirements for the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival next week.
The current competition between the processors and the live exporters is to Irish sheep farmers what Ronan O'Gara's introduction last Saturday was to the Irish rugby team. IFA's James Murphy said that some factories had paid, and were having to pay, €4.40-4.50 up to 23kg to get lambs this week.
According to the latest report from Bord Bia, sheep supplies for the week ending October 30 were 900hd higher on the same week last year, at 44,200hd. On a year to date basis, supplies remain 13pc, or 254,000hd, lower.
In Britain, despite the ongoing weakness in sterling, trade recovered slightly on the back of on-going tight supplies. At the auction markets, prices improved as the week progressed, reaching the equivalent of 417c/kg deadweight including VAT towards the end of the week.