Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Ringside: Seasonal dip more severe than usual

Ivan Scott competing in the Six Nations competiton at the All-Ireland Sheep Shearing Championship in Burt, Co Donegal last weekend. Photo: Clive Wasson
Ivan Scott competing in the Six Nations competiton at the All-Ireland Sheep Shearing Championship in Burt, Co Donegal last weekend. Photo: Clive Wasson

Joe Healy

Unfortunately, the pattern for the June Bank Holiday Monday is well established.

This year the seasonal drop in prices arrived a week earlier than normal, with last week's quotes back by 40c/kg. Any hopes of that they might settle at that were dashed when they fell by another 20c/kg before the weekend.

The rot seems to have stopped for the time being, but factory sources would not fill you with optimism on the prospects for the rest of the week.

Some bit of hope may be gleaned from the fact that quotes and prices recovered somewhat in the second week of June last year and Ramadan will start on Thursday, June 18 and will continue for 30 days. This Muslim Festival generally gives a boost to the sheep trade.

The current quotes are some 30c/kg behind the level they were at this time last year, with all the plants that are quoting on the same base of €5.20/kg.

These include the two ICMs, Kildare Chilling and Moyvalley, with the figure from the latter being an all-in quote.

The ICM plants and Kildare Chilling are offering a 10c/kg bonus on quality assured (QA) lambs. Neither of the western plants were quoting for the lambs when contacted yesterday. The IFA's John Lynskey said that factories were having to pay between €5.40-5.50/kg to get farmers to deal.

Both ICM plants and Kildare are offering a base of €4.40/kg plus 10c/kg QA for the hoggets. This reflects a drop of 50c/kg over the week but in fairness, the hoggets being offered can tend to be a mixture of almost everything but quality.

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A similar drop in Kepak still keeps them tops with a quote of €5.50/kg plus 6c/kg for QA hoggets.

Kildare remains on the €2.90/kg plus the QA top-up of 10c/kg for the cull ewes. The two ICMs are also offering €2.90/kg.


The downward price pressure from the factories is not helping the trade at the marts. The majority of the fit lambs in Athenry yesterday were selling for €60-70 with the €/kg. However, a top price of €129, or €81 over, was paid for a quality lot weighing 48kg.

Ewe hoggets were a lively trade in Fermoy, with a tops of €140 paid for 60kg. Other pens sold for €60-77 with their weight. Lambs were making from €55-63 over their weight, with most of them selling between €100-113.

It was a smaller sale than normal at New Ross mart last Saturday with just over 600 sheep on offer. Trade seems to have steadied a little with a lot of customers present. Butchers lambs sold for €108-115/hd, or from €60-69 over the €/kg. Factory lambs made from €101-110/hd, or €60-67 over. Store lambs were selling for €81-96/hd, reflecting €51-59 with their weight.

Heavy cull ewe prices ranged from €108-141, while lighter types moved at €70-105. Ewes with lambs at foot made from €165-275/unit.

Dowra Mart reported a quieter trade last Saturday, although the ewes with lambs at foot and quality ewe hoggets were holding their own from the previous weeks. Better quality ewes with lambs at foot made from €160-220. Older ewes with lambs were making from €90-150 each.

The best of the hoggets suitable for breeding later ranged from €90-130, while the lighter lots made from €60-90 each. Lambs made from €85-105, with a few pens of stores making from €50-80 each.

Carnew had 1,300 sheep on offer, but lamb prices were back by €7-10 on the previous week, selling for €88-112. Ewe hoggets met with keen demand and made from €130-158.

Indo Farming