While the trade may have turned, we are still a long way off €5.50/kg to 24kgs which was the official factory quote for this time last year. That official quote translated into €5.80/kg on the ground, so there is a way to go but the climb back has started.
The mart trade last week was dominated by smaller numbers and prices that were steady to possibly improved.
However, factory activity over the weekend has seen mart sales start this week stronger as evidenced by the figures from yesterday’s sales at both Athenry and Kilkenny.
Ultimately, it’s all about the numbers. The most recent Bord Bia figures show a 9,000hd increase in total sheep slaughtering to 50,000hd for the week ending February 11 and an overall increase of 38,000hd (14pc for the year to date).
The gradual increase in prices since February 11 indicates a slight slackening in supplies while demand remains
Prices in the UK for that week show the equivalent of €4.46/kg as being the price dead weight for lamb, while in France trade is reported as slow.
Michael Harty of Roscrea described trade last week as “tougher”. The lack of significant movement in factory prices continued to weigh on buyers minds, and was reflected in a small turnout of sheep on the
day. Lamb/hogget prices for the 50-55kg animal hit a top of
€107/hd off a base of €100/hd.
Numbers were also back at Mountbellew last Saturday. Prices for stag ewes improved due to the tightening in numbers to sit between €100-118/hd. Quality hoggets also improved slightly, with ewes from 56-57kgs hitting €127/hd, while back at 51.3kgs the price was €113/hd. Ewes with lambs at foot saw prices range from €167/hd to €207/hd.
Also smaller in number was Dowra last weekend, with Patsy Smith commenting that the trade was possibly “sharper” as a result. Heavier store hoggets sold for €70-90/hd, while lighter hoggets, as well as horned and mountain hoggets, made from €45/hd to €70/hd. Fat ewes sold to a top of €95/hd off a base of €70/hd, while cull ewes made €40-70/hd.
Trade was improved at Carnew last Thursday with heavy hoggets up by between €3-5/hd, with other classes also better by €2-3/hd. Hoggets over 50kgs made €106-111/hd, with the 45-49kg animal on €97-107/hd. Hoggets in the 40-44kg weight bracket saw prices in the €88-100/hd range. Store hogget’s made €77-95/hd, while cast ewes sold for €68-116/hd. In the lambing section,
in-lamb ewes made €120-160/hd, while ewes with lambs at
foot averaged €140-225/hd
Reports from Athenry mart yesterday indicated that the trade for lamb/hogget jumped significantly with my source telling me that while the numbers were small “the trade was on fire”. Prices reported as having been paid for hogget/lamb included 42kgs at €100/hd, 45kgs at €108, 53kgs at €123/hd, and two lots of 48-49kg lamb “not overly well done” at €112-113/hd.
Yesterday’s sale in Kilkenny also saw improvements with manager Michael Lynch reporting that lambs were up €2-3/hd. This translated into factory lamb in the 40-50kg weight bracket making €90-104/hd, with the heavier
50-60kg butcher type lamb making €100-114/hd. Cast
ewes made €90-117/hd.