Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Lamb trading at €85/hd as demand rises

Lambs are not plentiful according to the ICSA
Lambs are not plentiful according to the ICSA
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

A buoyant store lamb trade has seen €80-85/hd paid for good pens of Suffolk-cross lambs.

Strong farmer demand for stock was reported by mart managers, with lively ­competition between mainly farmer buyers.

Patsy Smith of Dowra Mart in Cavan said there were plenty of customers for forward stores that were close to being finished.

Farmers from the midlands, Roscommon and Donegal bought the bulk of the stock, with €80-90/hd being paid for Suffolk crosses.

However, lighter mountain lambs were a tougher trade. Most sold for between €40/hd and €55/hd.

It was a similar story in Athenry Mart, where a price range of €78-86/hd took out the bulk of the lambs in the 35-38kg weight range.

Mart manger, Alan Barry, said that there was "great demand" from traditional store buyers.

ICSA sheep chairman, John Brooks, said demand in the marts had been helped by the presence of live shippers buying for the El Eid Islamic festival in September.

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"The live lamb trade is for ram lambs and it is a very useful support to prices," Mr Brooks said.

"In general, store lambs in the 36-42kg bracket are making €2.20/kg and upwards and lighter lambs are making more. A 27kg lamb would be around the €70 mark, or about €2.60/ kg," he said.

General consensus

Breeding sales have kicked off, with prices similar to last year. Breeding hogget prices range from €140/hd to €200/hd, with older ewes in the €100-150 bracket.

Ewe lambs suitable for ­breeding are going well, with fancy lots making up to €130/hd.

On the factory front, Mr Brooks said the processors had "run out of road" in trying to drive down lamb prices.

"Lambs are now making €4.70-4.75/kg despite some efforts last week to offer as little as €4.40/kg," he said.

The ICSA leader added that lambs were not plentiful.

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