Farm Ireland

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Supplies are tightening as hogget quotes rise 5-10c/kg

Half the factories held firm at last week's quotes
Half the factories held firm at last week's quotes
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

Life isn't simple and I can tell you that trying to understand the nuances of the sheep trade is downright complicated. Take yesterday morning for example.

I was given a long list of apparently unsolvable problems that factory representatives claimed were affecting the trade for sheep meat at present.

These problems included: the supermarket trade going soft, no money around because of the time of year, too many sheep in the UK, delays on the killing line caused by dirty sheep, overzealous Department officials…it was a long list.

Once all of these issues had been discussed and the conversation moved to prices, half the factories held firm at last week's quotes while the other half promptly lifted their quotes for hogget by 5-10c/kg.

Looking at the figures, Moyvalley continue to lead on a flat €5.00/kg followed by Kildare on €4.85+10c/kg quality assurance while Kepak Athleague are also on €4.85/kg but with just a 5c/kg bonus.

The other half of the table, comprising of Dawn Ballyhaunis and the two ICMs at Navan and Camolin are still playing catch up. All three are on a base of €4.80/kg with the only difference being the amount on bonus being offered, 10c/kg in the case of the ICMs with Dawn paying 5c/kg. Word on the ground is that supplies are tightening, a point conceded by some on the processing side, resulting in prices for hoggets staying firmly fixed between €5.00-5.10/kg.

Also firmly fixed is the price of the cull ewe with quotes yesterday not moving off a universal figure of €2.80/kg with Kildare Chilling offering their usual bonus of 10c/kg which gives them an edge on paper.

One factory man when discussing cull ewes and their price observed that their numbers this year appear to be less than expected due, he suggested, to less barren ewes in the farming system.

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While current figures from Bord Bia indicate that the numbers of sheep going through factories are up over 5.3pc or 8,253 to 162,866 for the first three weeks of 2018, it's too soon yet to be able to predict with any degree of accuracy how the trend may go later on.

As to the issue of wet/dirty sheep, some factories turned away sheep last week but the numbers were small.

I got the feeling yesterday morning that some factory bosses just want the whole issue to go away. Moyvalley stated that they don't charge for clipping.

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