In a week of "Royal welcomes" I think it is pretty fair to say that there is very little welcome amongst sheep farmers for the attempts by the sheep processors to pull quotes and prices across the board.
It is ironic to see the downward pressure on one hand while, at the same time, factory sources are making no secret of the fact that they are finding it extremely difficult to secure adequate supplies. Having said that, it is obvious that while the quotes are down significantly, the factories are willing to and having to pay well above the lower quotes to get stock.
As you will see from the table, most of the plants have reduced their quotes to a base of 630c/kg plus the bonus for today. This represents a reduction of 10-30c/kg over the past week. Moyvalley, normally close to the top end of the spectrum, are the biggest culprits from a farmer's point of view with their drop of 30c/kg from last Tuesday's 650c/kg to their all-in quote of 620c/kg today. Elsewhere, a 10c/kg fall leaves Kildare quoting 630c/kg plus 6c/kg plus 5c/kg Quality assurance. Despite the fall, they are still tops when all the bonuses are taken into account. ICM Navan, Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kepak Hacketstown are offering a base quote of 630c/kg also plus the bonus. The figures are the same for Kepak Athleague but their quote was for yesterday only. ICM Camolin were not quoting for today when I spoke to them yesterday as they said that they were not killing again until Thursday. They were killing yesterday with some lambs being slaughtered said to have been bought at 655c/kg. This was not out of line with prices in other plants around the country for lambs bought at the weekend and slaughtered yesterday.
Hoggets are also down, although not as much as the lambs. Only Kildare Chilling, Kepak Hacketstown and Dawn Ballyhaunis were willing to quote, each offering a base of 570c/kg plus 6c/kg.
The IFA's James Murphy said that with supplies of hoggets and lambs very scarce factories were having to pay up to 30c/kg over the quotes to get lambs and are ringing farmers trying to secure numbers. He added that the cold and harsh weather conditions were not helping.
Kildare and Kepak Hacketstown are tops for the cull ewes at 300c/kg. ICM Navan and Dawn are offering 280c/kg while 270c/kg is being quoted by Moyvalley Meats.
Bord Bia reported that prices over the past week were in the range of 650-655c/kg for the lambs with the hoggets at 580c/kg. Cull ewes were selling at 280-300c/kg. Prices in the UK were the equivalent of 686c/kg incl VAT, while in France lamb prices were in the 684-694c/kg range incl VAT.