Farm Ireland

Monday 23 October 2017

Lamb trade: Prices and demand still ‘solid as rock’

Roscommon Sheep Mart. Quantity 10. Average weight 45.5 K. Price €122. Photo Brian Farrell
Roscommon Sheep Mart. Quantity 10. Average weight 45.5 K. Price €122. Photo Brian Farrell
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

PRICES continue to be “as solid as a rock” to quote ICSA’S John Brooks.

Indeed they are, with reports that spring lamb prices are up to €6.25/kg, with hoggets in the €5.20-5.25/kg bracket.

As such, IFA’s John Lynskey was prepared to push prices for lamb out to €6.30/kg on the back of both strong mart and factory demand. Prices for cull ewes remain set between €2.60-2.70/kg.

Last year at this time lamb was making a top of €5.70/kg, while in 2015 the start of June saw a price of €5.40/kg with the price of spring lamb for the first week of June in 2014 set at €5.80/kg. So there can be no doubt that sheep farmers are in a better place than they have been in some time.

The credit for some of this has to go to farmers themselves for managing supplies, as well as the farm organisations, IFA and ICSA, who have kept pressure on the processing sector in relation to prices and weights. The ICSA in particular have been very proactive in making the industry aware it was watching issues around imports and labelling very closely.

The factories too deserve credit for keeping the product out in ever-increasing volumes with their marketing and sales people obviously a match for any in Britain or Europe at present.

While the figures above paint a good picture of where we are, as opposed to where have been in the past, this week sees no further advancement in price, with all plants holding firm at last week’s levels.

Kildare Chilling continue their dominance of the num­ber one position in the price table for spring lamb trade at €6.10+10c/kg bonus.

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Kepak Athleague are also on €6.10/kg but their bonus only runs to 5c/kg.

Next up are the two ICMs on a quote of €6.00+10c/kg bonus, with Dawn Ballyhaunis bringing up the rear on €6.00/kg.

There are hints that supply in some places may come into balance with demand, as Kepak yesterday indicated intentions to keep the above quote active for today only. We’ll see how that plays out.

Factory quotes for hogget also remain unchanged from last week, staying in the range of €5.00-5.15/kg, plus bonuses were applicable.

Comparing to the same week last year, hogget prices are a shade better, with €5.00/kg, more or less the top of the mar­ket this time last year. Howev­er it was far better in 2014 at €5.40/kg.

In the UK, Bord Bia reports sheep trade as remaining strong due to high demand with lower throughputs impacting supply. Best demand was reported for new season lamb. Sheep meat production has increased 4pc year on year between January and April 2017 compared to 2016.

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