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Ringside: Sheep quotes take a seasonal plunge


Joe Brolly

Joe Brolly


Joe Brolly

I'm not sure who or what Joe Brolly would compare with the sheep quotes this morning, but they are definitely not very pretty.

Normally we get another week out of the trade before the June Bank Holiday drop to quotes and prices. Let's hope that it's a case of this hit coming a week early and that there isn't a follow up next week.

The table attached tells a clear story. All plants are showing a 40c/kg drop to a base of €5.40/kg from last week's €5.80/kg. This is a loss of €8/lamb for the farmer. Factories point to an increase in supplies and, more importantly, sluggish markets.

All the main players are on €5.40/kg plus the bonus, which is worth 10c/kg for quality assured (QA) lambs going into either of the ICM plants and Kildare Chilling, and 6c/kg in Kepak Athleague. Moyvalley's €5.50/kg is an all-in quote, but Dawn remain like last year's Kerry footballers operating behind closed doors and are not quoting.

Farmers are finding it difficult to get the factories to pay much more than the base plus the bonus, with €5.60/kg being the max for most, even if €5.70/kg was mentioned. The hoggets have also taken a hit, but in fairness there is no big surprise here as the quality of the falling numbers on offer continues to deteriorate.

A 30c/kg reduction from the ICMs and Kildare drops them to a base of €4.90/kg plus a 10c/kg QA top-up. Kepak Athleague have resisted pulling the base under the even money with their offer of €5/kg plus a QA top-up of 6c/kg. There is room for improvement here if you have a bunch of nice quality hoggets.

There's no change on the cull ewes, leaving Kepak and both ICM plants on a quote of €2.90/kg. Farmers selling are not accepting anything less than €3/kg as the mart trade for well fleshed ewes remains very strong.

Bord Bia market information suggests that the sheep markets are under pressure from significant amounts of Spanish lamb. While supplies began to dry up this time last year, it appears that there are enough of them around to last another few weeks at this stage

Supplies at sheep export meat plants for last week stood at around 43,344 head. In Britain, some further easing in the trade was reported on the back of a continued rise in supplies. It was a similar scene in France where a rise in volumes of Spanish and Portuguese lamb is increasing competition.

Mixed weather conditions have also impacted demand particularly for barbeque products. The price for Grade 1 Irish lamb was €6.25kg.


The mart trade held well despite big numbers over the past week, especially for the heavier types. Fleshed lots over 45kg down in Fermoy were making from €61-81 over the €/kg. Lighter lots were selling up to €65 over their weight. A big sale in Athenry saw a top price of €77 with the weight when a pen weighing 48kg sold for €125. Butcher lambs were probably up slightly in Kilkenny, making from €60-88 with the €/kg in a price range of €120-141. Factory lambs however were back by around €5/hd, making from 60-77 with their weight at prices of €100-125.

Dowra Mart had 80 pens of sheep for sale last Saturday. Young ewes with two lambs at foot were making from €180-255, while older ewes with twins made from €130-180. Ewes with singles were making from €140-190. Older types with singles made from €90-140 each. Factory lambs sold for €100-124. Heavy cull ewes ranged from €90-150. Feeding ewes made from €55-85. The best of the hogget ewes made from €100-145. Lighter lots were making from €70-95 each.

The 647 sheep on offer at New Ross mart last Saturday met with a slightly easier trade for all types.

Butcher lambs sold from €112-118/hd, or €71-78 over the €/kg. Factory types were selling for €102-112, or €62-71 with their weight.

A small supply of hoggets saw prices vary from €95-115. Heavy, well fleshed ewes sold for €110-135. Lighter ewes made from €72-107.

Over in Maam cross, the Blackface mountain ewes with a lamb or two at foot were making from €72-112.

Indo Farming