Farm Ireland

Friday 27 April 2018

Rising lamb prices could hit €4.75/kg

Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

LAST week’s column surmised that while quotes were static the market was about to turn and that is exactly what happened.

Factory bosses were sitting tight last Monday morning on quoted prices of €4.30-4.40/kg while quietly giving €4.60/kg, and that had increased to €4.65/kg by Friday.

By Sunday night that price had reached €4.70/kg for lamb for slaughter yesterday morning and €4.75/kg is now a possibility later this week. Whatever about €4.75/kg this week, lamb prices are on the way up. All official factory quotes - with the exception of Moyvalley who continue on an all-in price of €4.50/kg - were up yesterday morning by 10c/kg to between €4.40-450/kg.

Kepak Athleague lead the way on lamb price with a quote of €4.50/kg plus 6c quality assurance. They are closely followed by the two ICM plants and Kildare Chilling who are all on €4.40/kg plus their quality bonus of 10c/kg.

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Lagging a little off the pace then is Dawn Ballyhaunais on a quote of €4.40/kg. While the prices on paper may vary up and down, when it comes to actually buying it’s often the “fight in the dog, not the dog in the fight” that really matters to quote a certain sheep factory agent, in relation to how his club St Bridgid’s of Roscommon will do in two weeks.

Away from the sports fields of the west, John Lynskey of the IFA notes that some factories are paying up to weights of 23kg while both ICM plants reported that they had lifted their weight limit to 22.5kg as of yesterday morning.

The cull ewe trade has remained fairly static over the last few weeks with only minimal movement. Yesterday’s official quotes saw Kepak Athleague raise their price for ewes to €2.35/kg plus a bonus of 6c/kg.

This just pips last week’s best payer, Kildare Chilling who remain on €2.30/kg plus their bonus of 10c/kg, to top spot in the ewe table. Both ICM plants remain on €2.20/kg for ewes, while away from the official line I have reports of €2.50/kg being paid for ewes. John Brooks of ICSA says that his organisation is monitoring the movements of sterling against the euro very carefully.

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 “The processors were very quick to factor in the fall in the strength of sterling since Brexit, so let’s see how long it will take them to add back the effect of a strengthening sterling to the price they pay farmers going forward,” the ICSA man said.

Sterling was on 77.6p to the euro prior to the Brexit referendum; today it is 86p/€ having weakened to over 90p/€ in the intervening months.

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