Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Lamb Prices: Lamb quotes back another 15-20c/kg

8/6/2017. Ballymote Sheep Mart
Keeping an eye on the auctioneer
Photo Brian Farrell
8/6/2017. Ballymote Sheep Mart Keeping an eye on the auctioneer Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

Official factory quotes for lamb have slipped back another 15-20c/kg to sit at €5.20-€5.35/kg with various bonuses on top.

This latest move on price brought an instant reaction from IFA sheep chairman John Lynskey: “Demand is very strong with groups getting €5.70/kg last week,” he said.

He added that the going rate this week is €5.50/kg with some groups getting from €5.60-€5.65/kg. “Supply is barely meeting demand,” he said.

That said there is no denying that numbers are now starting to come with marts reporting increased numbers.

However what the market needs and what it gets sometimes don’t tally.

John Brooks of ICSA said that farmers are drawing their lambs at the correct weights thus limiting the numbers of heavier lamb coming onto the market.

This has then lead to an ironic situation whereby factory and wholesale buyers are driving on the price of heavier lambs, lambs that they traditionally would be very critical of. Why?

Part of the reason is down to the factories success in developing markets for all the various qualities of sheep they have to deal with, add to this that once a lamb or ewe goes over the cut off weight a home has to be found for that extra weight and the factories have found those markets.

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It’s these developments that have seen the export of lamb in purely carcase form shrink as an overall percentage of the factories product as plants develop more sophisticated markets for all the various qualities of sheep that come their way.

As far as official quotes go the two ICM’S and Kepak lead the race to the bottom of the barrel with both quoting €5.20/kg for lamb with a bonus of 5-10c/kg respectively.

Next up are Moyvalley on €5.30 with Kildare Chilling on €5.35+10c/kg bonus. Dawn were unavailable.

Hogget trade

While the hogget trade is now almost out of season Kildare continue to quote with a price this week of €4.40+10c/kg quality bonus.

On the good news side cull ewe quotes at the two ICM plants are up this week by 10c/kg to €2.70/kg which adds weight to my contention that all the sheep that go through the factory gate are needed, and not always at the lowest price.

Prices on the ground for those cull ewes appear to be possibly hardening with John Brooks quoting me prices from €2.90-3.00/kg. Higher than factory bosses would care to admit.

Mart Roundup


NUMBERS were down but trade was buoyant with a full clearance. Spring lamb from 43-49kgs made from €90-110/hd while the majority between 50-53kgs made from €114 to a top of €134/hd. A small selection of 42-68kg hoggets saw prices from €70-110/hd. Ewes with singles at foot hit €245/hd while old rams sold from €132-140/hd.


NUMBERS increased from last week resulting in prices easing by about €1-2/hd. Heavy lambs in the 50-60kg bracket sold from €115-127/hd while those in the 40-50kg section saw prices range from €95-112/hd. Store lambs sold from €70-90/hd. Cat ewes made from €45-124/hd while breeding ewes with lambs at foot sold from €150-225/hd.


GOOD sheep selection saw top cull ewes make €125.50/hd for 109kgs. The majority of cull ewes were between 61kgs at €69/hd and 88kgs at €115.50/hd. Heavier spring lambs sold from €101-112/hd on weights from 41-49kgs, however a few choice lots at 42kgs made €112-112.50/hd.


TRADE remained firm with some rating the outlook “positive”. Second crop ewes with doubles at foot sold from €155-246/hd while cull ewes sold from €€85-120/hd. Spring lamb made from €110-132/hd while the store men were keen and drove the price of store lamb onto averages from €78-115/hd.


BUTCHER type lambs over 45kgs sold from €118-126/hd with choice lots at 53-54kgs making €138/hd. Lighter factory lamb eased by about €3-4/hd but still sold off a 40kg base at €102/hd to a top of €124/hd for one pen of 44kg weathers, but the majority sold in the range of €114-118/hd. Store trade saw lambs weighing in the mid thirties make mid €80’s/hd. Cast ewes hit €125/hd. In the first of the years brood sales three and four year old ewes sold from €115-140/hd with the top of the market being €200/hd for prime stock.


TRADE was steady with 45kg lambs the best sellers making up to €115/hd above this weight in the 45- 50kg section, prices ranged from €50-72/hd over the €/kg with heavier lots making up to €67/hd with the €/kg. Lighter lambs from 40-45kgs made from €48-70 over their weight.

Online Editors