Factories: Lamb prices are on the up with €5/kg 'widely available'
Gallery: Pictures and Prices from Mountbellew Mart
All the official factory quotes are up by 10c/kg for lambs, with ewes improving by anything from 10-20c/kg.
These price rises are driven by a hardening in supplies coupled with factory demand that, despite pressure from cheaper UK product, has seen Irish product remain a favourite with consumers.
Kepak Athleague top the table with a base price of €4.85/kg plus 5c/kg bonus; Kildare Chilling are on €4.80/kg plus 10c/kg bonus. The two ICM plants and Dawn Ballyhaunis have added 10c/kg to their base prices, bringing their quotes to a €4.70/kg base.
The ewe trade, which has been welded to an official base of more or less €2.40-2.50/kg since way back in September, this week finally moves away from that floor.
While Kildare are the best payer for ewes at €2.60/kg plus 10c/kg bonus and Kepak are on €2.55+5c/kg, the real movers are the two ICMs and Dawn.
All three lift their quotes for ewes by 20c/kg onto a straight €2.60/kg. Where does all this movement leave actual prices? The general consensus is that lambs are on €5.00/kg with ewes on €2.70-2.80/kg.
The IFA's John Lynskey said €5.00/kg "is widely available".
This view is echoed by the ICSA's John Brooks but he was disappointed that more progress is not being made on paying for over lambs over the 22.5/kg cut off.
That cheaper UK product that I mentioned above was worth in the region of €4.20-€4.30/kg to British farmers last week and you do have to wonder at what point it will have an effect n this side of the Irish Sea
For now, however, British lamb does not appear to contributing to an overhang in the market. While Irish beef farmers constantly complain that they lag very far behind their British farming cousins on price, it appears to be the reverse in the sheep business.
It's an odd case of swings and roundabouts.
A smaller sale saw Neils McAuliffe dropping the hammer on 33-35kg Suffolk X Texel stores at an average of €2.00/kg, with heavier 45-49kg lambs selling in and around the €2.10/kg mark. Nicely fleshed 35kg mountain lamb with "a bit of feeding in them" sold at €1.91/kg, while lighter 28kg lots made €1.53/kg. Asked how he saw the trade going as we head into the Christmas period, "it should improve further" was Neil's prediction.
2 New Ross
"Santa Claus has arrived early" was auctioneer Jim Bushe's summary of his trade yesterday. The reason for Jim's jolly disposition was the fact he had some cracking prices especially among the heavier butchers lambs. Examples included 65kg Charolais lambs making €130/hd and 59kg Texels at €120/hd. Jim reported average prices for butchers' lambs to be in the range of €110-113/hd. He said these prices were "freely available". The factory trade was also strong, with factory lambs typically making from €104-110/hd. The farmer is a great man Jim maintained. "He no sooner has his lambs sold than he's back in buying stores."
A smaller sale with prices improving across the board was the story here yesterday. Butchers' lambs in the 56-58kg range averaged about €114/hd, with a top price of €117/hd paid for 61kgs. Factory lamb from 36-45kgs sold for €70-101/hd, with the general run being in the €85-90/hd bracket. Cull ewes sold from €58/hd to €114/hd, with cull rams making €98-100/hd.
Ivan Moffitt reckons the trade has already stepped up a gear with overall sheep prices being up about €7/hd in two weeks. The store trade has been the strongest section, Ivan said. Prices for the general run of stores ranged from €60/hd to €70/hd, with more forward ewe lamb types making €80/hd, and more on occasion. Factory lamb sold in the €100/hd range, while horned lambs made €40-50 apiece.
Trade was also reported as improved here In the ewe lamb section 45-49kgs sold from €95/hd to €107/hd, while in the 30-37kg section prices moved between €79/hd and €82/hd. Wether and ram lambs saw 51kgs make €108/hd, with the lighter 28-35kg animal making €56-71/hd. Cast ewes sold from €70/hd to €110/hd. Two- and three-year-old brood ewes, including hoggets running with rams, made from €120/hd to €135/hd.
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