Factories: Lamb prices steady at €5.20/kg

Photo Brian Farrell
Photo Brian Farrell
File photo: Getty Images
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The trade for sheep appears to have levelled off, with factory quotes for lambs remaining unchanged from last week. Dawn, ICM and Kepak held their official base quotes steady at €5.20/kg plus various bonuses.

Kildare Chilling also remained the same and were again yesterday not in a position to offer an official quote.

Their representative claimed that there needs to be a fundamental review of lamb pricing, particularly when a lot of heavy lambs come on stream.

Some others on the factory side claim that this year lamb prices have climbed far too early to be sustained, given that both Easter and Ramadan are months away.

Looking back to this week last year, you find quotes for lamb on our table ranging from €5.00-5.10/kg, while cull ewes were pitched between €2.80-2.90/kg. I see consistency from year to year, not a price rollercoaster.

Farmers would probably also like to see a fundamental review of pricing, with a direct input into where prices for the primary producer should be pitched. I can't see that happening though.

Prices on the ground for lamb seem to be running from €5.50-5.60/kg, with both the IFA's sheep chair Sean Dennehy and ICSA's Sean McNamara claiming that €5.70/kg is also being paid.

On the cull ewe front, prices also remain static from a base of €2.60/kg as offered by Dawn Ballyhaunis to €2.70/kg from the two ICMs and Kepak Athleague.

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Kepak Athleague hold on to their position as top payer for lambs despite the Roscommon processor, Dawn and the two ICMs all paying a base of €5.20/kg on our price table by virtue of the fact their quality assurance bonus is 5c/kg better, at 15c/kg, than the opposition's 10c/kg offering.

As a possible Brexit date comes ever closer, some in the sheep sector claim that the threat of massive imports from the UK through the North before any possible implementation of state controls is increasing.


This is a hard one to call because on the one hand official figures from the UK show that mortality due to the very poor weather around lambing time last spring was high, leading the AHDB to conclude that what lamb supplies there are will only be sufficient to cater for the domestic market.

That's all well and good except that those with the sheep might conclude they'd be better to sell early, and let that be to the Republic, at not a bad price, rather than wait for any possible domestic price lift.

The danger of Brexit for those in the Irish food industry is, I think, less to do with tariffs or transport delays; the real concern is what happens if the British economy goes into a snap recession and the supermarket shoppers close their purses.



1 Headford

This was a small sale, but the strength of the overall trade saw various lots of 10 to 12 lambs at a time selling from €123-128/hd. On the breeding side, five ewes with two sets of triplets, one set of twins and two singles sold for €168/hd to set the standard. Cull ewes made from €100-120/hd.

2 Athenry

Alan Barry reported trade here as steady in both numbers and prices yesterday. Heavy lambs saw 59kg hit the top call of €133/hd with both 52kg and 57kg lots seeing €130/hd. 47-51kg sold from €115-120/hd. Cull ewes made €70-120, with a majority averaging from €100-110/hd. "There was really no major change in the trade" was Mr Barry's summary.

3 Corrin

There were tidy numbers and a steady trade at this sale. Prices from the sheets for lambs included the top call of the day, €54.7kg at €141/hd. Various batches from 52-55kg were a bit futher back and sold on average from €127-132/hd, while 46kg saw €117/hd. Among the more storish types, you had 45kg at €111/hd with 42-43kg selling from €106-108/hd.

4 Raphoe

Among the lamb prices, 51-54kg types ranged from €130-133/hd with 45-49kgs selling from €105-119hd. In the lighter lamb section, 37-38kg sold from €90-96/hd. Cull ewes sold €70-128/hd with a good share seeing €90-110/hd. On the breeding side, springing ewes sold from €138-142/hd, while ewes with twin lambs at foot sold from €200-265/hd with one exceptional lot making €310.

5 Tullow

Trade for lamb was reported as strong and steady with 50-52kg lambs selling from €126-134/hd. Forward store lambs over 45kg made from €120-128/hd, while your lighter ewe and wether made from €108-116/hd. Lighter stores from 32-38kg made from €85-102/hd. Cast ewes were a shade easier, although at a top of €141/hd there was obviously a demand. Younger ewes with singles at foot made from €190/hd.

6 Carnew

Lambs over 50kg sold from €126-135/hd here. In the 45-49kg category, prices ranged from €116-128/hd with 40-45kg selling from €102-128/hd. Lighter store types under 40kg made from €77-106/hd. In-lamb ewes made from €140-190/hd, while ewes with twins at foot sold from €190-242/hd.

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