Lamb Prices: Numbers up 10pc on last year

Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

NUMBERS of sheep presenting for sale continued to edge upwards last week to the point where factory bosses were saying yesterday that last week’s official quotes of €4.55-€4.70/kg plus bonuses would hold for the first half of the week.

Bord Bia figures for lamb throughput for the week ending December 3 shows lamb numbers running at over 10pc or 5,065hd above the equivalent number for the same week last year.

Cast ewe and ram numbers are also up the same week last year from 6,994 to 8,721. That’s the backdrop to the current situation.

Moving to the factories we see Kepak in Athleague holding their price at last week’s €4.65 plus bonus of 5c -at least for the first half of the week.

On the question of lamb weights and quality I’m told that the accepted limit is now from 22.5- 23kgs, with Kepak Athleague manager Bertie Mannion commenting that “lambs have had two good monthsand are showing good condition.”

Questioned on poorer presentation, over weights and bad conformation the message from the Roscommon man was “poorer quality or poor presentation has to equal a poorer price”.

Moyvalley also hold their all in price of €4.70/kg from last week while Kildare Chilling dropped their price by 5c/kg yesterday morning and now sit second on the price table at €4.55 plus a quality bonus of 10c/kg.

Both ICM plants reduced their prices by 5c/kg to €450+10QA.Dawn Ballyhaunis had no official quote for lamb, but their quote for ewes is in line both ICM plants at €2.30/kg.

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Leading the field on ewe prices is Kepak Athleague on a price of €2.40 plus 5c/kg bonus with Kildare 5c/kg further back on €2.30 plus 10c/kg bonus.

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IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said some factories are actively looking for lambs this week and paying up to €4.85/kg.

He said the general run of price is €4.75-4.80/kg, with ewes at €2.50 to €2.60.

John Brooks from the ICSA was critical of the factories’ attempts to buy below “the base line”.

Pointing out that with New Zealand lamb still a minority player in the UK and with sterling stable at .84p/€ the factories were taking a very short term view of the business.

“They were fit to give €5.10 and more in the run up to Christmas last year,” he said.

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