Farm Ireland

Friday 20 July 2018

Sheep trade is under pressure from 'dirty' sheep issue


Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The sheep trade a bit like the cattle trade appears to be suffering from winter blues as the bigger factories quoting for hogget yesterday morning eased back by between prices 5-10c/kg.

Moyvalley Meats are out in the lead with their €5.00/kg for hogget. Dawn Ballyhaunis have eased their quote back by 10c/kg to €4.70/kg plus 5c, while the two ICMs drop 5c/kg to €4.75 plus 10c/kg quality bonus.

Both Kildare Chilling and Kepak Athleague were not in a position to quote as they both contended that the market in France had gone soft to the point where they were completely unsure as to what they could offer.

There was also a hint that the wet or 'dirty' sheep issue was a factor. As one buyer said to me: "How am I suppose to have a quote for wet/dirty sheep and dry sheep?"

Following on from my piece last week on the wet or 'dirty' sheep issue, I received an email from one factory with a video attachment on how much difficulty wet or dirty sheep potentially cause on the killing line.

It was instructive and revealing. Prior to my entering farming I studied industrial design engineering at university.

As I watched that video I realised that the technology being used for the pulling of the hide seemed very 1970s and no way as advanced as it possibly could be.

It left me wondering if the system could be redesigned to a higher specification or would costs deter. For the present however the system is as is.

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All that aside, plants with an interest in cull ewes quote a base of €2.80/kg, with Kildare Chilling edging out in front with their quote of €2.80+10c/kg quality bonus.

Prices on the ground for hogget appear to be running from €5.00-5.10/kg with ewes making €3.00/kg. Mart numbers yesterday from Kilkenny to Fermoy to Athenry were all reported as small which at least may help thwart any further attempts to pull prices.

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