Farm Ireland

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Lamb Prices: Numbers tighten but quotes static


9/Aug/2017 Roscommon Mart
Lot Number 13
Weight 50.33K
Quantity 6
Type Ewe Lambs
Price. €105
Photo Brian Farrell
9/Aug/2017 Roscommon Mart Lot Number 13 Weight 50.33K Quantity 6 Type Ewe Lambs Price. €105 Photo Brian Farrell
Dawn Meats logo.
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The arrival on a lot of farms of the 70pc Basic Payment Advance last week took the "sharp edge" off a poor sheep price.

However, sheep farmers are not that easily blinded. The situation with the factories was that lamb prices remained either unchanged, as in the case of the two ICMs at € 4.40/kg+10c/kg quality bonus, or in the case of Kildare Chilling and Kepak Athleague moved slightly upwards to a base of €4.55kg plus their respective 10c and 5c per kg bonuses.

The one exception to this was Moyvalley Meats, who reduced their price by 5c/kg to €4.55/kg.

Dawn Meats Ballyhaunis continue for the third week in succession to play their cards close to their chest and held back yet again on giving an official quote yesterday.

The general feeling from both the IFA and ICSA is that numbers of quality lamb are tightening as recent big kills and poor thrive due to the bad weather hit supplies.

One industry commentator told me that if a farmer has the quality a factory wants, "he won't be let slip for the want of five cent".

Allowing that the factory trade appears to be tightening, where does that leave lamb prices on the ground? The answer is at €4.65-4.75/kg. The story on cull ewes is that official quotes yesterday yet again remained unchanged, with all those involved in that end of the trade continuing to quote a base of €2.40/kg and bonuses, as per table below. On the ground, cull ewe is making €2.50-2.60/kg.

With all the major players either holding steady or improved this week and with mart prices for factory weight lamb reported as "improved by €2-3/hd", as in the case at Carnew last Thursday, the background mood seems to be positive.

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How long it will take for that to be translated into further price increases depends on numbers.

IFA's sheep chairman John Lynskey said that prices "have moved on" and that farmers would want to be aware of that and also be aware of the influence the Christmas market exerts on prices even at this remove.

Looking to France, Bord Bia reports that trade up to the middle of this month remained slow, with limited retail promotions taking place.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand throughputs are down 4pc but production of lamb meat is back only 3pc due to heavier carcases. Exports from New Zealand to the EU are reported as being back 10pc this year due to a lower volume of trade with the UK.

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