One-in-five lambs 'free' to factories
"Factories have sheep-men in a headlock." The words of one sheep farmer yesterday on the current relationship between factories and their suppliers. And "headlock" it is in relation to prices, with quotes for everything from ewes to hoggets to lambs less yesterday than a week ago.
The biggest pull in prices has come in the price of lambs, with Moyvalley collapsing their quote by 40c/kg from €6.50/kg back to €6.10/kg. Next up are Kildare Chilling who dropped their quote for lamb yesterday by 30c/kg to €6/kg plus bonuses.
Please log in or register with Farming Independent for free access to this article.
While Dawn and the two ICMs only pull their lamb quote by 10c/kg they are jointly the worst payers for lamb at €5.90/kg plus bonuses. The same three players also pulled their quote in unison for hoggets yesterday by 30c/kg to €4.70+10c/kg quality assurance. Kildare Chilling are on €4.90/kg+10c/kg for hoggets, while Kepak offered no quote for hoggets.
Moving to the cull ewes, the two ICM plants stepped their official quote back 10c/kg to €2.60/kg. The only good news, if you can call it that, is Kepak Athleague, while not quoting for hogget they do at least leave their quote for both cull ewes and spring lamb unchanged from last week.
Their offering yesterday for lamb continued at €6.00+15c/kg QA, while their cull ewe quote remained steady at €2.80/kg.
These prices are an awful long way back from where we were 12 months ago when quotes on our price table for lamb ranged from €6.80-7.00/kg, with hogget on €6.00-6.10/kg, while the humble cull ewe was being quoted at €3.00-3.10/kg.
Leaving aside the actual prices paid for lamb, the difference on quotes alone from last year is up to €1.10/kg, or to look at it another way you're almost giving one lamb in five away for nothing this year when compared with last.
IFA sheep chairman Sean Dennehy accused factories of destroying farmer confidence in the trade.