Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 19 October 2018

Red-hot trade for hoggets could last till summer

There is strong demand for hoggets
There is strong demand for hoggets
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The red-hot trade for hoggets and lamb could last until mid-summer.

Buoyant demand for hoggets on both the domestic and export fronts has pushed factory quotes to €6.30/kg, while €7.10/kg is being offered for spring lamb.

On the ground both IFA and ICSA are reporting that hogget is making €6.50/kg at the sheep factory door.

The IFA sheep chair Sean Dennehy was prepared to push spring lamb prices out to between €7.35 and €7.40/kg.

John Brooks of ICSA notes that the rising tide of prices has now lifted cull ewes on anything from €3.30-3.50/kg depending on quality.

With the main crop of new season lamb unlikely to hit the market until June, Mr Dennehy predicted that strong sheep prices were set to last into the summer.

Mr Dennehy said finishing lambs had been extremely difficult this spring due to the cold and wet weather, and unusually low grass growth.

Poor thrive among lambs as a consequence of the bad spring meant that the main crop of lambs were unlikely to come on stream in substantial numbers until mid-June, the IFA sheep chairman explained.

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Hogget numbers have collapsed over the last three weeks, with the weekly kill dropping under 45,000 head.

Prices have continued to harden as a result.

The hogget trade in Britain is also on fire, with both factory and auction prices running well ahead of last year.

Up to £7/kg (€8.05/kg) has been paid for spring lamb in the factories, which is close to record levels.

The trade has been equally strong in the marts, with hoggets averaging £2.72/kg (€3.13/kg).

This equates to £122/hd (€140/hd) for a 45kg hogget, which is in line with Irish prices.

The British Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board in a review of imports from New Zealand noted that the New Zealand lamb crop was at a 63 year low in 2016/2017 and predicted numbers to remain low going into 2018.

Meanwhile, mart trade was described as "lively", with spring lambs selling from €143/hd for 40kg to €166/hd for a batch of ten at 59kg.


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