Factories: Lamb prices achieve lift-off but ewes stall


Photo Brian Farrell
Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

Supply pressures continued to put upward pressure on prices to the point where yesterday morning factories once again were forced to lift their quotes for lamb - and in some cases that lift was quite spectacular.

The factory with the magic touch in regard to price rises was Dawn Ballyhaunis, with a lift of 20c/kg for lamb to €5.20+10c/kg QA.

Kildare's modest increase of 5c/kg brings them also to €5.20+10c/kg QA. Kepak Athleague nailed 10c/kg to their lamb quote yesterday, bringing them to €5.05/kg +15c/kg QA, while Moyvalley moved to €5.40/kg all in.

Missing from all of this activity are the two ICMs, who yesterday were unable to furnish any figures on price.

As the ICM plants kill over 40pc of all the sheep in the country, that probably says more about where the market could be going than Dawn's price lift.

John Brooks of the ICSA and the IFA's Sean Dennehy agree that prices appear to be on an upward twist - they said the general run of lamb prices going into this week was around the €5.50/kg mark, with Mr Dennehy claiming that wholesalers and factories were both paying the equivalent of €5.70/kg in places.

Ewe prices by contrast remain undisturbed for the umpteenth week, with quotes on the table below settled at €2.70/kg, with a 10c/kg offered by Kildare.

On the ground ewes continue to trade around the €3.00/kg mark, with a shake more possible.

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With lamb prices on the up I wonder how long before we see positive movement on ewes?

Reports from the marts yesterday gave clear indications that any factory price rises are having an effect back down the supply chain, with Corrin mart in Cork for example recording a €20/hd lift in the price of heavy lambs.

Best wishes

Meanwhile, I wish to extend my best wishes to Mr Brooks for the future as he steps down as ICSA's sheep chair after four years on Thursday.

John has been a regular contributor to these pages and was never short of an opinion or facts on any matter sheep related.

If he was a soccer player he would be in the mould of Richard Dunne: a rock in defence of sheep farmers' right to a sustainable income

And if you were a factory boss, a department official or naive politician you got your cards marked early on in regard to where John thought your focus should be in relation to sheep issues.



1 Ennis

The trade here improved by up to €5/hd as farmers and wholesalers went about their business of filling their various order books. Lambs in particular went on well, with a top of €135/hd achieved. Cull ewes also hit that €135/hd mark.

2 Ballinrobe

Numbers here were similar to the previous week with again a very strong demand for lambs: one batch of ten saw a top call of €129/hd. Top price for ewe lambs was €123/hd. Demand for cull ewes saw prices range from €82-118/hd.

3 Maam Cross

Black-faced lambs and cross-breds averaged €68/hd, with texel ram lambs setting the top bar at €112/hd. Trade for hogget saw prices average €70/hd, with the top call of €89/hd going to a batch of three cross-bred wethers. Two Cheviots set the top price for dry ewes at €92/hd, with the overall average working out at €59/hd.

4 Roscommon

Numbers remained steady here, with prices for well-fleshed hogget ranging from €120/hd for 48.6kgs to €127/hd for 50.9kg. Sample prices among lighter lots included 39.4kgs at €112/hd, 42kgs at €113.50/hd and 46.3kgs at €114.50/hd. Trade for cast ewes was reported as steady, with prices ranging from €76-118/hd.

5 Corrin

Yesterday's sale here was a real scorcher, with heavy lambs up on average by €14/hd and €20/hd in places. The range on prices for those heavy lambs was €116-150/hd, with that top price going to a batch of six lambs that averaged 57kg, while down the weights 49kg lambs were making €131/hd. Factory and store lambs sold from €72-115/hd, with that top price going to a single lamb weighing 46kg. Cast ewes made €28-132/hd, while ewes with lambs at foot sold to a top of €210/hd.

6 Kilkenny

Michael Lynch also reported a positive sale yesterday, with 40-49kg lambs better by €2-3/hd at €106-118/hd, with a majority trading from €106-11/hd. It was a similar story among the heavier lambs, with 50-60kg lambs selling from €123-130/hd, with Michael's price of the day being 12 54kg lambs who sold for €129/hd. There was a small scattering of stores with the best price seeing a batch of six at 36kg making €91/hd. Cast ewes made €90-134/hd.

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