Farm Ireland

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Lamb prices hold as factories chase supplies for Eid


Photo Brian Farrell
Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The factories have started to pursue supplies to fill contracts associated with the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival which starts on August 21.

The effect on the trade saw factory quotes for lambs and cull ewes yesterday holding steady for the second week in succession.

Kildare Chilling are at the top of the table for lamb on €5.00+10c/kg QA, which I was told is for today (Tuesday) only.

Next up are Moyvalley on an all-in €5.00/kg; they are followed by Kepak Athleague on €4.95+5c/kg QA. The two ICM plants are next on €490+10ckg, with Dawn Ballyhaunis just behind the curve at €4.90kg.

On the cull ewe front, Kildare are also the leaders with their offer of €2.70+10c/kg bonus, followed by the two ICMs on €2.70/kg, with both Dawn and Kepak continuing on €2.60/kg.

While a number of sales yards were closed yesterday because of the bank holiday, Jim Bushe from New Ross reported that "factory buyers were very keen" when it came to factory-weight lamb at his sale, pushing prices there to a top of €112/hd.

John Brooks of the ICSA questioned whether the decimation of cattle factory prices caused by the dairy sector dumping cull cows into the factories will be repeated - in a roundabout way - in the sheep sector.

The reason is that the Government's introduction of a €155/hectare payment to the tillage sector to grow fodder this autumn for their dairy farmer neighbours could see a lot of tillage men forego their tradition of buying stores for autumn/winter grazing.

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It's an interesting point. An awful lot of store sheep are bought all along those western seaboard counties by tillage farmers from the east and midlands for winter fattening.

Another issue raised by a number of people I spoke with has been the slow uptake in the ewe hogget market.

The expectation from the factories is that numbers will continue, but this year has seen more lambs coming to market that are under-finished than normal, and that does impact on their ability to find a home for it. This is a direct result of the hot weather and lambs not finishing out. It is a similar story in the UK where the AHDB (the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) recently reported that lamb prices have dipped below the five-year average as a result of the quality not reaching market specification and the resultant knock-on effect to the producers' prices.

The AHDB also report that the UK lamb crop this year is back by about one million head, which should be good news for the Irish industry.

Indo Farming