Farm Ireland

Saturday 17 March 2018

Lamb trade remains on an upward curve

Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The lamb trade this week continues on an upward curve with prices on the ground yesterday morning in the €4.80/kg region with €4.85/kg on offer in some places.

Factory buyers on the other hand while not exactly pleading poverty were pitching their prices from €4.50-4.70/kg with various bonuses of 5-10c/kg thrown in.

One factory buyer remarked to me that “if there’s a fortune in it why don’t ye farmers buy a factory?"; another maintained the factores were surviving on “a wing and a prayer”, and a third man bemoaned the weight and quality of lamb being presented.

John Brooks of the ICSA summed the situation up well when he told me at the weekend that “with sterling calm at .85p to the euro” he saw the trade continuing on a gradual upward trajectory.

sheep table dec 1.PNG
The latest factory prices
Going through the official quotes, Kepak Athleague who were last week’s run away leaders at €4.65 plus their 5c/kg bonus continue on that price but have been joined at the top by both Kildare Chilling and Moy Valley whose all-in quote for lamb is €4.70/kg.

This then leaves both ICM plants, which have upped their quotes by 5c/kg to €4.55/kg plus bonuses, in fourth place. Dawn Ballyhaunis, who also upped their quote by 5c/kg fall into fifth in this week’s table on a straight €4.55/kg.

On the ewes, some factories are keener than others for supplies, but this has yet to translate itself into a better price.

Kildare Chilling remain the leader in the field, as they were last week on their unchanged price of €2.30/kg plus 10c/kg bonus; second are Kepak Athleague also unchanged on €2.30 plus 5c/kg and the two ICM plants are quoting just €2.30/kg.

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However John Lynskey of the IFA told me that actual prices for ewes start at €2.55 and can go as high as €2.70/kg.

The factory trade for lambs remains strong and as we approach Christmas

factory bosses will gradually put their houses in order to sweep

up as much supply as is possible despite complaints about price.

Bord Bia reported the sheep trade up to last Friday as remaining strong with the rise in the value of sterling against the euro helping exports.

This is despite the kill for the week ending November 19 being up 16pc or 8,000 head on the same week last year.

Overall production figures from January to the end of October show a rise of almost 2pc compared to the same period last year.

While this reflects increased numbers going through the system it also reflects higher carcase weights.

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