Factories: Tide turning as Kepak first to raise sheep prices


Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

Last week the factories appeared to have plugged the holes in their price quotes that kept putting downward pressure on prices.

And yesterday one plant, Kepak Athleague turned their boat into the wind and began the journey to the land of higher sheep prices.

They spread additional canvas by raising their quotes for lamb by 10c/kg to €4.65/kg+5c/kg QA. All other factories on our table left their lamb prices untouched, for the moment.

There appeared to be an acceptance from some on the processing side that the days of boundless numbers are becoming limited.

So our price table reads as follows: top are Kepak on €4.65+5c/kg QA, followed by Kildare Chilling on €4.60+10c/kg QA with Moyvalley on €4.60/kg while the two ICMs and Dawn Ballyhaunis are all on €4.50/kg+10c/kg QA.

On the cull ewe side the news is not so positive: while the two ICMs and Kepak, at €2.40/kg, and Kildare at €2.50+10c/kg QA left their quotes unchanged, yesterday Dawn dropped by 5c/kg to €2.35/kg.

While the mart trade also remains steady and improved in places, of concern must be the fall-off in interest in breeding sheep.

John Brooks of ICSA reckons we are seeing a drop in interest due to factories failing to recognise and respect the huge efforts needed inside the farm gate to produce the quality required by the market.

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George Candler of Kilkenny Mart agrees, saying prices for rams are back up to €100/hd on 12 months ago as a result.

Moving to actual prices both Mr Brooks and IFA national sheep chairman Sean Dennehy said lamb supplies have gotten very tight in recent days, with factories struggling to get adequate numbers.

Mr Dennehy said prices are strengthening, with reports of €4.80/kg paid and more farmers getting €4.75/kg. Mr Brooks said ewes were being traded for €2.60-2.70/kg.

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