Factories: Optimists dealt a blow as lamb prices hold


File photo
File photo
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The optimism of a month ago when those with lambs to sell were convinced that with Easter in the offing and Ramadan to follow prices for lamb and hogget must surely improve were dealt another blow yesterday morning as quotes remained yet again static.

A month ago, the quotes for spring lamb ranged €6.30-6.50/kg, with hoggets on €5.30-5.50/kg, while cull ewes ranged from €2.70-2.90/kg. Yesterday lambs on our price table were on quotes of €6.00-6.50/kg, with hoggets quoted from €5.00-5.50/kg. Cull ewes range from €2.70-2.80/kg.

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Sean McNamara of ICSA noted that while prices on the ground have remained static at a top of €5.50/kg for hogget and €6.50/kg for lamb, issues around weight are coming to the fore.

"ICM Navan have put up the weight limit for lambs from 20-20.5kg. However, they have pulled the weight limit for hogget from 23kg to 22kg".

The Lord giveth and the lord taketh away; and then some.

IFA's Sean Dennehy claimed that there is strong factory demand for spring lamb. "Factories paying €6.50/kg up to 21kg on lambs, while €5.50/kg is being paid for hogget," Mr Dennehy said. Cull ewe prices are operating around the €2.80/kg mark, with some reports of more on offer.

The recently released EU short term outlook for red meat report shows that in the sheep and goat sector production has continued to decline in the EU during 2018.

"Lower lamb production in Northern Europe as a consequence of difficult production conditions early in the year impacted supplies.

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"Production is expected to decline by a further one per cent during 2019 as a consequence of a smaller breeding flock. EU deadweight prices were high in 2018 due to lower availability and favourable demand for sheep/goat meat on world markets."

The trade in the EU has remained relatively firm early in 2019 with tight supplies for slaughter continuing".

Commenting on trade with New Zealand the report says, "In recent years New Zealand has increased the volume and proportion of its sheep meat exports destined for Asian markets which has reduced the importance of the EU market.

"Exports to the EU accounted for just 16 per cent of New Zealand lamb exports during 2018."



1 Carnew

Maybe it was the big number on offer, 2,021 or maybe it's the continuing sluggishness in the factory trade but either way trade here was back on the previous week. Hoggets and spring lambs were both reported as being less by €3-5/hd. Spring lambs over 45kg made from €120-130/hd with 40-44kg lambs selling from €113-120/hd. Lighter lambs made from €95-110/hd. Hoggets over 50kg made from €120-125/hd with ewe hoggets making up to €132/hd. Cull ewes sold from €75-145/hd, while ewes with twins at foot made from €180-265/hd.

2 Ballinrobe

The story here was also one of increasing numbers. Your lighter store type lamb sold from €90-118/hd with heavier lots making from €95-127/hd. Fat ewes sold from €88-110/hd, while on the breeding side ewes with twins made up to €245/hd.

3 Mountbellew

There was also a large turnout of sheep here resulting in both hoggets and ewes with lambs at foot seeing slightly easier prices. Sample prices among spring lambs saw five at 35.5kg sell for €90/hd, with 14 at 47.6kg making €130/hd, while six lambs at 49.8/kg sold for €127/hd. Hogget prices saw 63kg make €140/hd, 52.8kg ewe hoggets sold for €118/hd, while 10 ewes weighting 71kg sold for €166/hd. Stag ewes sold from €90-110/hd. Meanwhile, ewes with twins at foot sold to a top of €247/hd.

4 Headford

Hoggets made up to €120/hd, with that top call going to a batch weighting 59kg. Prices for spring lamb ranged from €106-133/hd, with samples including 40kg at €113/hd, 46.5kg at €130/hd, 51kg at €133/hd and 44kg at €120/hd. Cull ewes made up to €95/hd while ewes with lambs at foot sold from €165-200/hd.

5 Baltinglass

The increase in spring lamb numbers here was to some extent offset by the fall in numbers of hoggets. On the prices front springs from 40-45kg sold from €120-130/hd, while 50-60kg hoggets made from €104-125/hd, with lighter lots selling from €85-100/hd. Cast ewes sold from €75-134/hd while ewes with lambs at foot sold from €100- 200/hd.

6 Maam cross

Lambs averaged from €30-40/hd with hoggets making a top price of €114/hd as in the case of a batch of six blackface ewe hoggets.

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