Lamb producers had hoped that tightening supplies would have led to a quote and price increase but this has not happened.
However, the good news is that while the quotes are pretty static, farmers selling have been able to negotiate prices well above the quoted figure. You will see from the table attached that the meat plants are all still offering a base of €5.80/kg plus the bonuses for the spring lambs and €5.20/kg plus the top-ups for the hoggets.
The bonuses are all for quality assured (QA) stock, with the two ICM factories and Kildare Chilling offering 10c/kg and Kepak on 6c/kg. Moyvalley's quote is an all-in one offer.
However, yesterday morning while doing the rounds, prices of up to €6.10/kg for lambs and €5.70/kg for hoggets were being mentioned as having been successfully bargained for. Having said that, the general run of prices appears to be €6.00-6.10/kg for the new season crop and €5.50-5.60/kg for the hoggets. Hogget quality is getting more and more mixed as we get near the end of supplies.
The current spell of wet and wintery weather is not conducive to good lamb thrive and this is reducing the numbers coming fit for slaughter.
Good news from the cull ewe sector as both ICM plants have increased their base quote by 10c/kg. This pushes them back up to a figure of €2.90/kg. Kildare are similar when you add their 10c/kg QA top up to their base quote of an unchanged €2.80/kg. Kepak Athleague are also offering €2.80/kg.
In Britain some stability in the trade was reported on the back of tightening in supplies due to the shorter week. The SQQ live price for lambs in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €5.85/kg deadweight towards the end of the week.
The trade was sluggish in France and little change is expected over the coming week due to the bank holiday. Promotions were mainly centred on forequarter lamb. The price for Grade 1 Irish lamb was making €6.25kg (deadweight including VAT) towards the end of the week.
It has been a reasonably good and solid week at the sheep marts around the country and yesterday's sales in Athenry, Fermoy and Kilkenny appeared to be continuing this trend with a particularly strong trade in Fermoy. Quite a number of pens of nicely fleshed lambs around the 50kg weight made €100 or more with their weight. A top price of €155 or €103 over the €1/kg was paid for a lot weighing 52kg. The general run of lambs sold for €75-94 with their weight while hoggets in the main made from €100-122.
Ewe hoggets in Athenry hit a top of €142. Wether hoggets moved at €100-110 generally. Spring lambs were making €65-85 over their weight with a tops of €132 for 47kg. Cull ewes prices varied from €62 to €143. The trade was up by about €2/hd in Kilkenny. New Season lambs were selling for €60-86 over the €1/kg, with a tops of €134 paid for 48kg. Hoggets made €70-84 over, while cull ewes ranged from €85 to €148.
Blackface ewes with lambs at foot over in Maam Cross were selling for €72-112. The mountainy wether lambs moved at €36-85, while the crossbred spring lambs sold for €88-102.
New Ross had 650 sheep on offer and reported a very steady trade for lambs and well fleshed hoggets. Butchers lambs sold for €118-125 or from €69 to €77 over the €1/kg. Factory lambs made €105-118 or €60-78 with the weight. Fleshed hoggets were making from €47-64 over €1/kg in a price-range of €98-115. Heavy cull ewes were selling for €120-156 with the lighter ewes making €77-116.
Baltinglass described their trade as lively. Hoggets made €75-120. Ewe hoggets made up to €135.