A week can make quite a difference. Just ask the Galway hurling fraternity but it also appears to have made a positive change to the sheep trade with a good bit more bite yesterday morning compared with last week.
he harsh weather conditions over the past few weeks has resulted in a tightening of fit lambs and factory agents were pretty active trying to tie down adequate supplies over the past few days.
A stabilisation of prices after the falls is welcome, but even more welcome is the fact that prices up to and over €5.60/kg are being secured. This is a lot more than the €5.20/kg plus the bonuses.
Unusually, Kildare Chilling are not quoting for the lambs or hoggets while, as usual, there are blanks everywhere for Dawn Ballyhaunis.
This leaves the two ICM plants with their €5.20/kg base plus 10c/kg for quality assured (QA) lambs. Kepak Athleague is also on a €5.20/kg base with a bonus of 6c/kg for QA lambs, while Moyvalley Meats' €5.20/kg is an all-in figure.
IFA sheep chairman, John Lynskey said factories are paying up to 20c/kg above quotes and to 21kg to secure numbers against more active live exporters.
The few hoggets still in the system are more of a nuisance than anything at this stage, with quality all over the place. So it is no surprise that only a few of the factories gave quotes ranging from €4.00-4.60/kg plus the QA top-up.
Bord Bia described the export trade as mixed, but it hopes that the upcoming Ramadan festival on June 18 will help.
Cull ewes remain around the €2.90/kg, with Kildare offering a 10c/kg QA top up. But €3/kg is freely available and the trade for them continues to be extremely lively at the marts.
In Britain, demand was stable with tightening supplies. The SQQ price for lamb in England and Wales was around €5.72/kg.
Some pressure was also reported on the French market due to an influx of competitively priced French Lacaune lamb on the market, but grade one Irish lamb was making €5.72kg.
The trade appears to have steadied, with many marts reporting an improvement to prices at their sales. This trend was continuing at yesterday's sales with Kilkenny reporting a flying trade.
Quite a number of pens with weights of 48-59kg made from €120-135, or up to €76 with the €/kg. While one 'horse' of a cull ewe sold for €160, the general run made from €100-147 with a few lighter types selling back to €70.
Fermoy also enjoyed a vibrant trade where the well fleshed lambs over 46kg were making from €64-77 with their weight. A number of lots made from €120-130.
Lighter lambs were making from €55-64 over. A top price of €140 or €88 over the weight was paid in Athenry for a pen of quality ewe lambs weighing 52kg. In the main, the fit lambs were selling for €54-64 with the €/kg.
The sheep trade was steady at Dowra last Saturday. Top pens of ewe hoggets were making from €100-146. Lighter hoggets made from €60-90 each. Factory lambs ranged from €85-106/hd. A few pens of store lambs varied from €55-80/hd. Ewes with twin lambs at foot made from €160-240, while ewes with singles made from €120-206.
Trade was steady in Baltinglass with the younger ewes with lambs at foot in keen demand.
Ewes with twins made up to €200, while ewes with singles sold to a tops of €160. Cull ewe prices ran from €50-120. Lambs of 40-45kg sold for €98-108 while heavier types made up to €116.