A headline over the weekend read "all plugged in at picnic" referring of course to the big music festival in Stradbally. Well the base quotes from the lamb processors make it look like as if they are all plugged into the one socket.
The good news is that the trade continues to remain very firm despite most plants reporting large volumes of lamb being offered for slaughter.
For the fourth week in a row all of them are quoting a base of 440c/kg plus the various bonuses. The ICMs continue to pay an extra 10c/kg for Quality Assured lambs.
The 6c/kg from Kepak Athleague is also a QA bonus while Kildare have a mixture combining a 5c/kg U grade bonus to a 5c/kg QA. Dawn Ballyhaunis continue to operate a 6c/kg bonus for U grades.
Hardened sellers are ignoring the quotes and playing hard ball.
This is proving worthwhile with many of them securing deals of between 460-466c/kg incl bonuses and to 22kg. Farmers now are rightly insisting on 22kg given that we have moved into September.
IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey said prices of €4.65/kg and to 23kg on occasions are available, while cull ewes have made up to 270c/kg where farmers have bargained hard.
Latest UK data shows prices improved last week with the SQQ lw up 3 to 4p on the week to 164.6p/kg lw or €4.63/kg. The factory deadweight price was £3.76 or €4.96/kg. The cull ewe trade continues to perform strongly.
Farmers with numbers have been negotiating prices of between 10-20c/kg over the quotes which range from 240-250c/kg. Kildare continue to offer a 10c/kg QA bonus.
An Bord Bia said that the sheep trade remained steady last week on the back of solid demand.
In France, the Irish Grade 1 Spring lamb price was making around €4.83/kg (incl VAT)
Meanwhile, the sheep marts reported a very steady week with breeding sales enjoying brisk demand.
Pride of place probably goes to Tullow mart where Suffolk cross ewe hoggets sold to €248. Pedigree ram sales are also reporting strong demand with sales ongoing every week.
The West of Ireland Suffolk society are holding their Pedigree Ram Lamb + sale in Ballinrobe mart on Friday next at 2.30pm.
In Fermoy yesterday, commercial ewe lambs weighing 55kg made up to €117. Lambs for slaughter made from €43-50 with their weight. The nice stores were selling to €2/kg.
Ewe lambs in Athenry made up to €62 over. Factory and butcher types sold for €41-51 with the €/kg.
At Kilkenny mart, the butcher lambs were selling for €45-54 over the weight in a range from €95-106. Factory lots moved at €40-49 with the €/kg at prices of €82-98.
In Enniscorthy, butcher lambs made from €96-100/hd or €47-50 over the €/kg. Factory types moved at €90-95/hd. Ewe lambs were making €79-110/hd. Store lambs sold for €60-82/hd.
Fleshy cull ewes ranged from €78-100. Lighter lots sold for €35-60. Prices for ewe hoggets ran from €148-180 with older ewes selling for €100-130.
Pedigree breeding rams made from €270-350 with a good supply of farmer customers.
A lot of the lambs fit for slaughter at Mayo/Sligo mart sold in a range from €1.85-2.00. Lighter types made up to €2.12/kg.
The best of the breeding hoggets topped out at €195 with rams making up to €380. Cull ewes hit a high of €123.
The ewe lamb ring kick started the show and sale day in Tullow. Trade was positive from the very first lot with prices ranging from €95-165. The majority sold between €110-140/hd. Cheviot ewe lambs met a demanding trade and sold from €100-152. Cheviot hogget ewes sold from €160-210.
Suffolk cross hogget ewes hit a high for not only Tullow mart, but probably for the country, at €248 but the majority of them sold from €180-205.
Aged ewes made from €85 for broken mouths up to €185 for younger 2-year-old ewes. There was excellent clearance with customers remarking on quality.
The next sale for the Tullow sheep breeders will be Tuesday, September 9.
Breeding ewes in Baltinglass made from €85-130. Hogget ewes were making from €130-170. Cull ewe prices ran from €55-100.
Well fleshed lambs were selling for €90-107. Ewe lambs made up to €120.
Carnew had a very big entry of 3,400 sheep. More farmer customers led to an improved trade. Ewe hoggets ranged from €130-175. Older breeding ewes sold for €100-145. Ewe lambs varied from €82-117. Prices for breeding rams ranged from €150-450.
Sheep: factory quotes c/kg incl. Vat
FACTORYEwes HoggetsSpring Lamb
Dawn Ballyhaunis --440+6
ICM NavanTues250-440+10Kepak AthleagueTues240-440+5
Moyvalley MeatsTues --450