Factories: Hogget quotes jump by up to 30c per kg
Figures from Bord Bia show that to the end of March throughput at our major sheep plants was back 14.2pc or 94,145 hd on the same period in 2018.
Most of that 94,145 figure is composed of lamb, 87,631 to be precise. It's a similar story north of the border where slaughterings of lamb are back 21.1pc or 16,349 for the year to date when compared with last year. All of which is a help to those with lamb to sell in the run up to Easter.
On the factory front yesterday, quotes for hogget jumped by between 10-30c/kg as factories got serious about tooling up not only for Easter but also for Ramadan.
On the lamb front, quotes range from €6.50/kg at Moyvalley Meats back to €6.30/kg plus bonuses at the two ICMs sandwiched in between are Kildare Chilling with their offering of €640+10c/kg quality bonus. It is noticeable that in relation to spring quotes both Kepak Athleague and Dawn Ballyhanuais did not quote, with Dawn also holding their powder dry in relation to quotes for hogget and cull ewes.
Hogget prices saw the range yesterday from €5.50+10c/kg bonus at Kildare Chilling, back to €5.30+10c/kg at the two ICMs, with Dawn not quoting this left Kepak comfortable at €5.35+15c/kg in second place on our price table, with Moyvalley squeaking in ahead of the two ICMs at a straight €5.40/kg for hogget.
Kildare also dominates the market for cull ewes this week as they push its quote for culls up by 10c/kg to €2.90+10c/kg bonus. The two ICM plants also lifted their cull ewe quote yesterday by 10c/kg and are now trading at €2.70/kg. Kepak continue on €2.80/kg.
There seems little doubt that further prices rises are likely given that demand should hold at close to last year's levels and official quotes for spring lambs rose to €7.00/kg and official quotes for hoggets saw a top of €6.10/kg paid.
Tiger Roll was 4/1 to win the national on Saturday, a sure thing even in such a big field? Hardly but win it he did. However, there were two 66/1 horses in the first five meaning a tenner each way on either was the bet.
Could cull ewes or hogget end up giving a greater return once you factor in all the costs? Despite lamb being the stronger price, I know of many sheepmen who would argue that when you put all costs against a lamb it's just a numbers game. One way or the other the best advice is to hold tough on price.
A slightly smaller sale saw an improved trade for all classes of weanlings, with more farmer customers ringside. Weanling heifers under 300kg sold from €1.80-3.20/kg, with those up to 400kg selling from €1.70-3.10/kg. Prices for 400-500kg were €1.70-2.85/kg, with heavier heifers making €2.00-2.60/kg. Among the bulls those over 400kg sold from €1.90-2.75/kg. Bulls from 300-400kg made €1.70-3.15/kg, with lighter types making up to €3.30/kg. Heavy dry cows sold from €1.40-1.90/kg, with store cows making €1.20-2.10/kg.
The story here was also of a smaller number but with trade improved. Quality among the bullocks was reported as "variable", but once the quality was right buyers were keen. Samples saw two 605kg Charolais make €2.54/kg, with two 465kg Charolais clicking €2.66/kg. A selection of Herefords saw a single at 475kg make €2.12/kg, while four together weighing 562kg on average found a new home at €2.07/kg. On the cull cow side your better-quality continental hit the €2.00kg, with one cracking 580kg Limousin making €2.21/kg. The better Friesian animal sold from €1.20-1.40/kg.
Numbers here were reported as well in tune for the time of year, with the better-quality store suitable for grass hitting the high notes. However, those with overly fleshed or aged stock found the going tougher. Heavy bullocks sold for €1.95-2.35/kg, with forward stores on €2.00-2.50/kg. Lighter store bullocks made €2.10-3.10/kg. Beef heifers made €1.95-2.45/kg, with store heifers making €2.10-3.15/kg. Weanling bulls sold for €2.05-2.90/kg, with weanling heifers making €2.10-3.20/kg. Dry cows sold from €1.10-1.85/kg.
Beef and forward store bullocks sold from €610-950/hd over the €1/kg. Stores over 500kg made from €580-800 with their weight, with those from 300-499kg selling from €350-690/hd with the €1/kg. Beef and butcher-type heifers made €460-785/hd over the €1/kg, with store heifers making €350-600/hd over the weight. Beef cows made €190-410/hd over the €1/kg, with feeder cows making €1/kg to €190/hd over the €1/kg. Friesian bull calves sold from €40-120/hd, with Hereford and Angus bulls making €100-240/hd
Starting cautiously here, you still found yourself pushed into €2.51/kg for seven 505kg Charolais. A little scalded perhaps you decide to scale back the money but still have to give €810/hd or €2.19/kg for those seven nice 370kg Angus bullocks. Your last punt of the day sees you giving €2.06/kg for three 530kg Angus.
Maurice Brosnan reflected on a special bull weanling sale that saw very big numbers, some excellent quality and equally excellent prices. "This time last year farmers were the dominant force around the ring, this year it's the shippers that are taking up the slack," he said. Prices paid ranged from €3.00-3.40/kg for U/E grade bulls, with the two 480kg Belgian Blues who netted €1,500/hd among the big hitters. Your R/U grade animal sold around the €2.50-2.70/kg mark, with farmer buyers moving on the O/R grade animal at €2.00-2.40/kg.
Numbers were up here on the previous week, with strong demand soaking up those extra numbers and then some. The main beneficiaries were the lighter stores and weanlings where prices hit a top of €2.90/kg for the bullocks and €3.10/kg for the bull weanlings. A summary of prices shows heifers selling from €2.10-3.05/kg, with bullocks making €2.00-2.90/kg. Weanling bulls ranged from €2.10/kg to €3.10/kg, while cull cows made from €705/hd to €1,345/hd.
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