Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

Lamb trade: More supplies necessary as Muslim festival edges closer

9/Aug/2017 Roscommon Mart
Lot Number 13
Weight 50.33K
Quantity 6
Type Ewe Lambs
Price. €105
Photo Brian Farrell
9/Aug/2017 Roscommon Mart Lot Number 13 Weight 50.33K Quantity 6 Type Ewe Lambs Price. €105 Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

THE sheep trade continues to be “tight” with question marks arising over whether the supply will keep in balance with demand.

At the moment the factories are able to absorb what num­bers are available but with the Muslim festival of Eid due to begin at the start of September more supplies will be necessary.

The festival is held approximately 70 days after the end of Ramadan, where it is incumbent upon every Muslim to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Abraham and have an animal slaughtered as an offering to God.

Called the Qurbani, meat is received in three portions – one for the person buying, one for friends and neighbours, and one for charity, again helping drive a spike in demand.

During this period, the community looks for mature animals, aged six months or older that are fit, healthy and lean.

Therefore, a pick-up in demand for lamb over the next couple of weeks is expected.

Whatever about the future, the factories were careful this week not to create any ripples as the majority left their official quotes exactly as they had been for last week.

However, Kildare Chilling dropped their quote by 5c/kg for lamb back to €5.00/kg plus 10c/kg bonus.

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Quotes for cull ewes saw an easing at both Kildare and Kepak with Kildare falling back from last week’s price of €2.70+10c/kg to €2.60+10QA, while Kepak eased by 5c/kg onto €2.65/kg +5c/kg bonus from last week’s €2.70+5QA.

The two ICM plants hold their ground however as they continued to quote €2.70/kg yesterday.

Among the farm organisa­tions the feeling is that with the approach of the Eid festival de­mand for sheep should increase as the week goes on.

The IFA’s John Lynskey said lamb supplies are tight at the factories this week and predict­ed that demand “will be very strong later this week and into next week.”

Both the mart trade and live export buying are active, as Mr Lynskey reported live buyers are offering €2.30 to €2.35/kg.

Mr Lynskey also said he had received a lot of complaints and concerns over Northern lambs at the meat plants in recent week.

The Livestock and Meat Com­mission of Northern Ireland confirmed that 5,627 lambs had been exported across the border to the Republic for direct slaughter for the week ending the 13th of this month.

However, the commission noted that a tightening in sup­plies and increased competi­tion from the Republic due to a stronger euro has “helped steady the trade.”

Both Mr Lynskey and John Brooks of the ICSA are critical of some factories failure to raise weight limits on lamb to 22kgs.

This is an understandable grievance as who doesn’t want to get paid for as much of what you produce as possible?

On the other side of the fence the factories point to farmers drawing sheep that don’t reach the upper weight limits.

A source from Kildare Chill­ing said: “We’re killing a lot of lambs at 20kg and we have had some back at 15kg which makes no sense for the farmer or us”.

In regard to those very light lambs the Kildare man speculated that some newer entrants into the business were perhaps still learning the ropes.

Marts Roundup


THERE was another sizable sale yesterday with lambs from 50- 52kgs selling from €104-111/h. In the 45-48kg category, prices ranged from €102-104/hd, while ewe lambs from 38-44kgs made from €84-94/hd. Cull ewes sold from €66-114/hd, with first crop breeding ewes making from €105- 142/hd. Breeding ewe hoggets saw a top of €199/hd off a €115/ hd base.


PRICES seemed unaffected by the big number at the sale with the better quality store lamb making from €2.10-2.15/kg, while those second string types averaged €2.00/kg. Exporter activity helped under pin the ram lamb trade with 45kgs making €100/hd or €2.22/ kg. Manager Neils McAuliffe described it as the biggest he has seen so far in terms of numbers.


It was a similar story with regard to numbers here, and again there was price improvement in some sections. Among those showing improvement were factory and ewe lambs with 46.8kg ewes hitting €2.35/kg, while 10 ram lams of 51.1kg made €104/hd or €2.03/kg. Store lambs took a hit coming in at between €68-91/hd. On the breeding side hogget ewes ranged from €144-200/hd.


Numbers were a little easier yesterday, which may have as much to do with next week being a breeding show and sale as opposed to any actual fall off in numbers. Lamb prices saw 53- 55kgs make €120-123/kg, with 41-48kgs making between €90- 105/hd. Stores from 35-31kgs sold from €61-67/hd.


Quality ewes and lambs saw their prices improve by €2-4/hd here despite increased numbers, with 44-55kg lambs selling from €100-128/hd while the lighter animal made from €81-98/hd. Suffolk x ewe lambs sold from €110-130/hd with Suffolk X ewes making from €145-170/hd.


THE general sheep trade was described by auctioneer John Gilligan as “firm”. However, exporter activity had a very positive effect on ram lamb prices as they hit a top call of €2.22/kg. Store weights sold from €1.98- 2.30/kg, with factory lamb making from €2.19-2.35/kg. Cull ewes sold off a base of 465/hd to a top of €132/hd. Breeding hoggets made up to €173/hd, while ewe hoggets sold to a high of €132/hd.

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