No Easter joy for farmers as sheep prices remain static

Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

AS I settled into writing my various reports yesterday morning my phone rang, on the end of the line was a very angry sheep farmer.

He told me that sheep prices at €5.20/kg for hoggets were the lowest he could remember at Easter for a very long time, and that was before he factored in annual cost increases. The farmer blamed the factories.

ICSA’s John Brooks was no less critical.

Indeed, he provided me with figures that show the processors imported 3,680 tonnes of sheep meat last year, of which 3,395 tonnes came from Britain.

“If you calculate on the basis of a 20kg lamb carcass this equates to approximately 170,000 sheep.

“This also equates to approximately one full month’s lamb kill. If you add to this the significant number of live sheep imported for direct slaughter from Britain, it raises serious questions and doubts as to traceability and labelling. It also casts a cloud over ‘Origin Green’ and the Bord Bia quality assurance scheme,” Mr Brooks said.

Looking at the various factory quotes as outlined in the table below, you can see the issue from the producers’ point of view.

It is Easter week and there is little movement on prices across the board. The exceptions are Moyvalley who rise their all in quote for spring lamb by 10c/kg to €6.20/kg. Kildare Chilling also move up 10c/kg to €6.00/kg plus 10c/kg bonus.

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The two ICMs are also on €6/kg plus a 10c/kg , while neither Dawn Ballyhaunis or Kepak Athleague were in a position to quote for spring lambs yesterday morning.

Hogget quotes

Quoted prices for hoggets stay exactly as they were last week, with the exception of Kepak who are 5c/kg less at €4.90/kg+ 5c/kg bonus.

Moyvalley and Kildare Chilling lead the way, with Moyvalley on an ‘all in’ price of €5.10/kg, while Kildare quote a base of €5/kg +10c/kg quality bonus.

The two ICM plants on a base of €4.90 plus 10c/kg, and struggling in last place are Dawn Ballyhaunis on €4.90/kg plus their 5c/kg bonus.

Official quotes for ewes remain unchanged, apart from Dawn Ballyhaunis who dropped their price for culls by 5c/kg to €2.75/kg. Kepak Athleague are on €2.80+5c/kg bonus, with the two ICMs on 2.80/kg, while Kildare quoted €2.70/kg +10c/kg.

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