Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 15 November 2018

Factories still ploughing into sheep prices

 

Lamb in Dowra Mart. Photo Brian Farrell
Lamb in Dowra Mart. Photo Brian Farrell
Having succeeded in getting both lamb and cull ewe prices back to the levels they were at 12 months ago, it remains to be seen what happens next for farmers. Getty Images
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

It's the week of the Ploughing and with the factories dropping their prices for both lamb and cull ewes by 5-10c/kg, the obvious pun is that processors continue to plough down sheep prices.

This week's opening bids for lamb range from €4.50/kg to €4.65/kg plus various 5-10c/kg bonuses; cull ewe quotes yesterday were €2.40-2.55/kg.

Having succeeded in getting both lamb and cull ewe prices back to the levels they were at 12 months ago, it remains to be seen what happens next for farmers.

The price range for this week two years ago saw lambs being quoted at €4.70-4.80/kg, with cull ewes 0n €2.30-2.35/kg.

The breakdown from top to bottom sees Kildare Chilling continue to hold onto top spot on our table for lambs, despite dropping their quote from last week by 5c/kg to €4.65+10c/kg QA (Quality Assurance) yesterday morning.

They are followed down the ladder by everybody else. Kepak Athleague drop 5c/kg to €4.60+5c/kg QA.

Moyvalley are on €4.60/kg flat, with the two ICMs and Dawn Ballyhaunis falling back in unison by 10c/kg to €4.50+10c/kg QA.

On the cull ewe side Kildare also hold on to top spot despite dropping their quote by 5c/kg to €2.55+10c/kg QA. Kepak remain unchanged at €2.50/kg, while the two ICM plants fell back 10c/kg to €2.50+10c/kg QA.

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Dawn Ballyhaunis join the party at €2.40/kg after also dropping their quote by 10c/kg.

IFA sheep chairman Sean Dennehy said sheep farmers are very frustrated with the way factories are cutting lamb prices, undermining the trade and confidence in the sector.

He said that with lamb now well below €5.00/kg the whole business is unviable from a producer's point of view.

John Brooks of the ICSA agreed, adding that imports from the North "or transiting through the North from Scotland and England" were helping depress Irish prices.

Reputation

Mr Brooks questioned the viability and reputation of Origin Green and factory traceability in light of these imports.

These points are all well and good but they were also made 12 months ago at a time when some quotes for lambs dipped further to €4.40/kg as we went through October. It was the first week of November before prices began to climb.

Factory bosses, no different to their farming suppliers, are driven by profit. Why would you stay in the job if you were losing money year on year?

Or is it a case that as long as the cheque in the post keeps coming, the merry-go-round won't stop?

Indo Farming

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