Factories: Processors ramp up downward charge on sheep prices
While the mart trade for stores roars ahead - with some sales seeing prices pushing right up to €90/hd, which is factory territory - actual factory quotes for lamb yesterday tumbled.
Leading the charge downwards were the two ICM plants, who reduced their official offering for lamb by 20c/kg to €4.50/kg plus bonuses.
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By contrast, Kildare Chilling's quote of €4.75+10c/kg quality assurance remains unchanged from last week, 25c/kg ahead of the ICM plants.
Next up are Moyvalley Meats, who slip 10c/kg to €4.70/kg.
Re-entering the fray this week with a quote of €4.55/kg plus 15c/kg QA are Kepak Athleague.
Dawn Ballyhaunis are still unwilling to have an official lamb quote published.
Quotes for cull ewes are unchanged at €2.70/kg, with Kildare slightly ahead courtesy of their additional 10c/kg QA payment.
There was surprise from Kildare's competitors yesterday at the strength of their lamb quote.
While mart prices for stores are strong, mart returns for factory-type lambs are less promising.
However, Kildare's lamb quote gives food for thought: could it be that with the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha less than two weeks away, are they keen to get in ahead of any possible rush?
I refuse to believe they are keeping their prices ahead just to annoy their opposition.
IFA national chairman Sean Dennehy feels that the single biggest factor in the marketplace at present is Eid.
"Demand around Eid al-Adha is what's driving demand. Factories are becoming more anxious," he said.
Mr Dennehy reported lambs as selling from €4.80-4.85/kg, with some getting up to €4.90/kg when you factored in bonuses. He urged farmers to "bargain hard on price and demand an increase in carcase weights to at least up to 21.5kg".
Sean McNamara of ICSA reports cull ewes as selling from €2.80-3.00/kg but added: "Lads are killing the ewe because they are worth more than the lamb; where does this leave us for next year?"
Bord Bia figures up to the middle of this month show that Irish sheep farmers are not the only ones suffering because of poor prices.
While our averages are back 7.7pc at €5.05/kg from €5.47/kg this time last year, North of the border prices are 12pc back on 2018, at €4.84-5.50/kg.
While the average price in the UK at €5.04/kg is slightly behind the Irish average of €5.05/kg UK prices have tumbled considerably more - 78c/kg, or 13.4pc.
French lamb prices have remained relatively stable, dropping only 5c/kg to €6.25/kg.
Prices in Spain are stronger for the first six months of this year on average by 16c/kg at €4.64/kg.
The bigger winners are the Australians where prices are running 13.4pc ahead of this time last year at an average of €4.49/kg.
With that figure in mind maybe ICM might consider opening a Sydney office.
Neilus McAuliffe noted that the trend of cattlemen crossing over to sheep continues, forcing up prices, especially for store lambs. Lambs sold from €2.00-2.20/kg with heavier types making €2.00-2.10/kg. Store samples included 32kgs at €67/hd, 29kgs at €61/hd and 36kgs at €78/hd. Scotch lambs saw 34kgs sell to €54/hd.
Thomas Potterton said “store and ewe lamb was a good trade”. Sample prices included 26kgs at €69/hd and 32kgs at €73/hd. 35-40kg lambs averaged €1.97/kg with the tops hitting €2.08/kg with 40-45kgs seeing a top call of €2.17/kg. Heavier 50kg+ lambs sold up to €50 with the €kg cull ewes made €75-100/hd.
Another big sale, with store lambs again the main drivers, at €72-98/hd. Heavier lambs ran from €97-119hd as factory and butcher buyers filled their quotas. Cull ewes saw a top call of €115/hd.
Prices also took a hit here, forced down by continuing factory price pressure for lamb and increased numbers. Samples show a 42.1kg leading the way at €97/hd or €2.30/kg, 49.6kgs at €100/hd and 42.2kgs at €90.50/kg. Moving to the lighter lambs, 37.2kgs sold for €90/hd, with 35.6kgs making €84/hd while 36.9kgs saw €77/hd. Cast ewes sold from €55-131/hd.
This was also a large sale with trade “steady”. Heavy lambs, 48kgs+ sold from €98-107/hd with the majority €100-104/hd. Fleshed lambs from 44-47kg went for €95-104/hd with the majority €97-101/hd. The store trade was lively with 28kgs selling off a base of €70/hd. 32-35kgs averaged €75-82/hd, with 36-42kgs making €80-92/hd with the majority €82-88/hd. Most heavy cast ewes sold from €120-140/hd with the tops seeing €145/hd. Hogget ewes were €5-10hd back on the previous week with prices starting around €170/hd.
The tougher trade at the factories saw prices for lambs suffer here — whether heavy or light, lambs were up to €3/hd less. This left your general run of lambs on €100-105/hd with cull ewes selling from €70-123/hd. Lighter lots sold from €150/hd.
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