Farm Ireland

Saturday 19 January 2019

Lamb prices: 'Sticky' trade for driven by French market

Farmers are coming out slightly ahead on prices. Stock image.
Farmers are coming out slightly ahead on prices. Stock image.
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

There have been some attempts by factories to undermine farmer confidence in the market place.

Kildare Chilling eased their quote for spring lamb by 10c/kg to €6.90/kg plus bonuses, while Dawn Ballyhaunis shaved 20c/kg off their quote for new season lamb, thus bringing it back to €6.80/kg.

So where does that leave us? Quotes for hogget ranged from a low of €6.10/kg at Moyvalley to a high of €6.30+10c/kg quality assurance at Kildare Chilling.

Overall the lamb prices ranged from that aforementioned low of €6.80/kg at Dawn to a high of €7.10/kg at Moyvalley Meats, which by the way is 10c/kg above their quote from last week.

Also squeezed in there is the fact that Dawn Ballyhaunis pushed their quote for hogget up by 5c/kg to €6.30+5c bonus yesterday.

There's a bit of the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away about the Dawn prices to be sure, but with hogget still the dominant force, numerically, farmers are probably overall coming out slightly ahead.

Overall, however, allowing for the fact the ICM group were shy on the quoting front, factory prices for hogget are stable to improved as in the case of Dawn.

The situation with cull ewes is also one of stability with quotes from Dawn, Kepak and Kildare all unchanged from last week.

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This means Kepak Athleague continue to shade on ewe prices with their quote of €3.30/kg from Kildare's €3.20+ 10c/kg bonus while Dawn Ballyhaunis remain firm at €3.20/kg.

Factory representatives report that the trade in France has become "sticky", despite the positive aspect of less British lamb coming on to the French market due to reduced New Zealand lamb coming into Britain.

This "stickiness" is due to reports that Spanish suppliers have stepped up their spring offensive in the French market and that Lacaune lamb from the south of France has begun to make its presence felt.

IFA national sheep chair Sean Dennehy said hoggets remain in strong demand and factories are paying €6.40 to €6.50/kg in general for 23.5kg weight.

He said some top prices were €6.60 and top weights were 24kg.

Spring lambs are making €7.00/kg despite some factories trying to talk the price down.

Ewes are making €3.30/kg.

John Brooks of ICSA concurs but adds that with this year's spring lamb tending to come in a bit under finished, farmers should consider keeping them longer to get a better finish and kill out.

1 Dowra

Ewes with lambs at foot were in good supply here with the general run of prices being from €140-150/hd for singles with the tops making €160/hd. The general run of hoggets sold from €110-130/hd with the top of the market seeing €140/hd paid. Cull ewes sold from €100-130/hd while feeding ewes sold from €60-90/hd. Patsy Smith commented that "anything with flesh was a good seller".

2 Blessington

Trade here was described as "good to strong" for hoggets and cast ewes while spring lambs were reported as a "very strong" trade. Those butchers hoggets made €135-145/hd with those spring lambs making from €134-155/hd. Factory hogget made from €115-138/hd with fat ewes selling from €125-148/hd. Feeding ewes made from €75-120/hd.

3 Athenry

Yesterday's sale was tidier on numbers but the market remained strong. Spring lambs sold from €131/hd for 41/kg to €147/hd for 47kg, with a batch of heavier 57kg lambs making €169/hd. Hogget prices ranged from €134/hd for 49kg to a top of €154/hd for 54kg. In the breeding section, six ewes with 11 lambs at foot sold for €266/hd, three ewes with six lambs at foot made €236/hd while one ewe with a single at foot sold for €160. Stag ewes made from €100-142/hd.

4 Headford

The trade for lambs ranged from €100-155/hd or from €2.15-3.44/kg with that top price coming for a batch at 45kg who sold for €155/hd. Cull ewes sold from €80-120/hd while ewes with lambs at foot ranged from €150-215/hd.

5 Ballinrobe

Numbers here was also less, a fact that didn't do those selling any harm at all. Hoggets sold from €98-125/hd while butchers lambs made from €110-130/hd. Fat ewes also saw their share of activity with prices ranging from €86-120/hd.

6 Baltinglass

Trade here remained steady for hoggets with prices for 35-45kg ranging from €82-114/hd while spring lambs sold to a top of €145/hd. There was a big offering of ewes with lambs at foot with the top call of €210/hd going to four older ewes with eight lambs at foot while somewhere in the middle, two ewes with three lambs at foot sold for €158/hd. Fat ewes sold from €75-141/hd.

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