Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 February 2018

Ringside: Lamb supplies just about keeping up with demand

Jack Robinson from Claudy, Co Derry won the open event at the Connacht Sheep Shearing Championships at the Connacht Spring Show in Ballinrobe Race Course last Sunday. Photo: Hany Marsouk
Jack Robinson from Claudy, Co Derry won the open event at the Connacht Sheep Shearing Championships at the Connacht Spring Show in Ballinrobe Race Course last Sunday. Photo: Hany Marsouk

Joe Healy

There is very little separating all the sheep processors on base quotes, with differentials on price coming in the form of the bonuses paid.

As you will see from the table, the base quotes for each of the categories show very little change from last week with all of the plants remaining on €5.80/kg for the spring lambs, €5.20/kg for the hoggets and €2.90/kg for the ewes.

The latter does include a bit of positive movement from Kepak Athleague and Kildare Chilling where a 10c/kg rise brings both in line with the two ICM plants on €2.90/kg. Prices being paid are generally at a minimum of €3/kg.

When the quality assurance (QA) top-up of 10c/kg on offer from Kildare is taken into account, the "Lilywhite" plant takes pole position. The ICMs and Kildare continue to operate a 10c/kg QA top-up for the lambs and the hoggets, while Kepak are on a 6c/kg QA bonus. Moyvalley's €5.80/kg is an all-inclusive figure.

Reading between the lines there is no oversupply of lambs at the moment, with numbers being offered for slaughter just proving adequate, at best, to satisfy demand.

Farmers selling are very reluctant to accept less than the €6/kg, with a range from this up to €6.10/kg being the norm. If your lambs are heavy and have the potential to kill out well, then the mart is probably a better option as you will more than likely be leaving a kilo or two to the factory for nothing once they reach the carcass cut-off weight. Demand for these well fleshed heavy lambs is strong at the marts.

Hogget supplies continue to dwindle and quality remains very mixed. Sellers with good bundles of quality hoggets have been negotiating prices of €5.50-5.60/kg.

The sheep trade in France was described as relatively quiet due to the recent bank holiday with promotions mainly centred on forequarter lamb. The price for Grade 1 Irish lamb was making €6.25kg (DW incl VAT) in the early part of the week.

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Meanwhile, the results of CSO analysis indicate that the number of sheep in Ireland increased by 89,700 (+1.8pc) to 5,096,800. There were increases of 147,000 (+6.2pc) in other sheep and 31,500 (+1.6pc) in ewes of two years and over.


It has been a relatively positive week at the sheep marts around the country and this trend appeared to be continuing at yesterday's sales.

Nicely fleshed lambs between 45-51kg in Athenry were making €66 to €81 with their weight. A top price of €130 was paid for a pen weighing 49kg.

Kilkenny described their sale as livelier with prices probably improved by €2-3/hd. Heavy lambs were making €112-134 or €62-83 over the weight. Factory types sold for €107-133 or €64-84 over. Prices for nicely fleshed cull ewes were running from €120 to €140.

In Fermoy a tops of €96 over the €1/kg was paid for quality lambs when 49kg sold for €143. A number of pens up around the 50kg mark made from €80 to €89 with their weight.

The sheep trade was very strong at Dowra Mart last Saturday. Ewes with lambs at foot were in keen demand and well improved. The better quality lots were making €160-240. Older ewes with lambs made €100-160 each.

Ewe hoggets suitable to join the breeding flock later in the year ranged from €100 to €145. Spring lambs were making €110-132. Heavy cull ewes sold for €90-146. Lighter feeding ewes were making €50-85 each.

Baltinglass enjoyed an improved trade for ewes with lambs at foot, especially the younger lots, as prices ranged from €180 to €210 for ewes with twins. Ewes with singles sold to €175. New season lambs of 45-56kg sold at prices of €115-125. Store hoggets made €80-110. Cull ewes were making from €80 to €145.

At Mountbellew Mart lambs sold to €125 or €76 over the €1/kg. Ewe hoggets met with a strong trade as prices ranged from €130 to €174. Cull ewes made €80-153, with many lots making €120-140.


Indo Farming