Factories and farmers are at odds on the Ramadan factor
There are two very distinct camps this week when it comes sheep price prospects. On the one side you have the IFA and ICSA, both of whom claim the trade is strong and will get stronger as we approach the Islamic festival of Ramadan.
On the other side you have the processing sector who are cagey about the possible effects of Ramadan. They also claim that the quality of hogget in particular has deteriorated over the last few weeks.
In relation to prices the IFA's Sean Dennehy was reporting prices from €6.30-6.40/kg yesterday morning as being where hogget is at while the ICSA's John Brooks estimated hogget prices at €6.50/kg.
The roles were reversed when it came to spring lamb with the ICSA man on €7.10-7.20/kg and his IFA counterpart on €7.30/kg.
The men with the power of the factory cheque book, however, were in no mood to push prices any further than they deemed absolutely necessary yesterday morning.
Dawn Ballyhaunis dropped their hogget quote by 30c/kg to €6.00/kg. Kepak Athleague and Kildare Chilling were not quoting at all. The two ICM plants held their price unchanged from two weeks ago at €6.00/kg +10c/kg bonus.
Kildare and Kepak say they are not quoting for hogget due to quality issues although Kildare were willing to quote €4.00/kg "or less" for poor quality and/or poor weight animals.
The only good news was that Moyvalley Meats, who are not dependent on the export market, put up their quote for hogget by 20c/kg to €6.30/kg yesterday.
Moving to the spring lamb trade, factory quotes in general are steady. However, ICM Camolin and Navan who did not quote last week dropped back 10c/kg to €6.80/kg +100c/kg quality assurance yesterday.
That leaves a price range of 20c/kg for spring lamb from top to bottom across all the plants on our table.
At the top end are Moyvalley and Kepak on €7.00/kg with Dawn on €6.80/kg at the other end. Kildare come in second on €6.90+10c/kg QA while the two ICMs as already mentioned are on a base of €6.80/kg.
In relation to cull ewe prices the two ICM plants return to the table this week with an opening bid of €3.00/kg, which keeps them in line with both Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kepak Athleague.
Continuing to lead the field for cull ewes are Kildare Chilling who put up their price by 10c/kg to €3.30+10c/kg quality assurance.
Prices for culls appear to be getting a bit stronger with factory agents reported as willing to give between €3.40-3.50/kg. With the sun having warmed sheep farmers' backs in recent days and with Ramadan approaching I suspect that the Maypole price dance has only just begun.
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