Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Factories squeeze another 15-25c/kg off lamb prices

28/7/2017 Ballymote Sheep Mart
Sheep girl Laura Hillery helping her father Sean at the mart.
Photo Brian Farrell
28/7/2017 Ballymote Sheep Mart Sheep girl Laura Hillery helping her father Sean at the mart. Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

FACTORY quotes show yet another decline in prices as factory bosses continue to squeeze as much profit as they believe they can out of the sheep market.

This week’s fall is in the range of 15c/kg — as in the case of Kildare Chilling as they fall back from last week’s €5.15/kg plus 10c/kg bonus to an even €5.00/kg plus bonuses. How­ever, Kepak Athleague cut its price by 25c/kg, leaving them on €4.90/kg plus 5c/kg bonus.

That still leaves both these plants well clear of Dawn Bally­haunis, which is quoting €4.80/kg. The ICM plants are on 480/kg plus 10c/kg bonus, while Moyvalley quoted me a straight €4.90/kg.

Quotes for ewes stay largely unchanged at €2.70/kg, al­though Kepak do drop their quote from €2.75/kg plus 5c/kg bonus last week to €2.65/kg plus 5c this week.

Prices on the ground are running in the region of €5.10/kg for lamb, with ewes €2.80-3.00/kg. IFA’s John Lynskey says that with the Galway Festival on this week it is reasonable to expect that sheep numbers may tighten in the west.

John Brooks of ICSA is more technical in his analysis, saying: “Factories operate on contracts with supermarkets and other outlets — that gives them great security and insulates them from the effects of consumer sentiment or tastes swinging one way or another.”

While the last few weeks of price cuts have hit sheep farmers hard, don’t lose heart: remember, those two early Roscommon goals didn’t sink Mayo.

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Factory lamb prices here ran from €51-61 with the €1/kg, while heavier butchers’ lambs made up to €60 with €1/kg. Cull ewes made €70-110/hd, with breeding ewes selling from €160-190/hd. The autumn store lamb trade is swinging into serious action. Prices for stores here ran from €46-56 with the €1/kg, with 36-39kgs typically making €82-85/hd.


There was a good turnout, with manager Michael Harty saying that later-born lamb “have not got much feeding in them”, which is good news for the men selling. Factory ewes from 41-47kgs made €84-97/hd, while 50-55kg examples made €106-115/hd. Depending on the quality 37-38kg stores sold for €78-83/hd. Cull ewe prices ranges from €120/hd for 103kgs to €100/hd for 118kgs.


Numbers were big and probably contributed to lambs easing by €2-3/hd. Butchers’ lambs made €106-112/hd, with factory lambs selling for €93-106/hd. Store lambs sold from €70-90/hd, with Suffolk-cross ewe lambs making €80-96/hd. Trade for Suffolk-cross hogget ewes ran from €130-175/hd. Cull ewes made €107-143/hd, while feeders sold from €60-104/hd. Summing up the trade, John Doyle said: “Prices have held very well all summer and sheep farmers are generally happier than 12 months ago.”


A good selection of store ewe lambs here saw prices range from €2.21/kg for 31kgs who made €68.50/hd to €3.03/kg for 28kgs at €85/hd. A lot of store ewes sold in the €2.60-2.80/kg range. Dry hoggets made €54-142/hd, while four-year-old breeding ewes of 66.8kgs made up to €101/hd.


Cull ewe prices averaged €54-150/hd, while lamb prices were €70-115/hd or €1.85-2.61/kg. Sample lots included 10 lambs at 51.5kgs at €116.50/hd, 10 at 48kgs who made €112/hd and 20 at 45.5 kgs who made €99/hd.


Lamb prices were a shake easier here with the tops of the springs being €110/hd and back to €102/hd. Pens of ewe lambs from 45.8-48.7kg also hit €110/hd. There was good demand for store lambs with prices ranging from €79/hd for 34.7kgs to €93/hd for 44kgs. Cast ewes made from €58-125/hd, with breeding hoggets seeing considerable interest at prices from €120-165/hd.

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