Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Sheep factory quotes edge upwards by 5-10c/kg

Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

Will sheep farmers this week receive a Valentine’s card from their local factory boss with the message “Sorry it was all a misunderstanding, we never meant to go below €5/kg. Love always. Your local sheep factory boss”.

Maybe, seems to be the answer as a tightening in supply sees quotes edge upwards by about 5-10c/kg.

While no one is actively mentioning €5/kg, the indications are that the price is headed that way. Supporting this are a raft of price increases, which this week sees Kildare Chilling, Kepak and the two ICM plants and Moyvalley effectively close in on €4.70/kg when various bonuses are included.

However, leading the pack is Kildare Chilling as they add 5c/kg to last week’s base of €4.60 to sit on €4.65 plus a bonus of 10c/kg. This give them an all in official quote of €4.75/kg - once all the weight and quality boxes are ticked. Bringing up the rear this week is Dawn Ballyhaunais. Despite quoting a flat of just €4.60/kg, no shrinking violet is suspected when it comes to taking on the other main players when the need arises.

So while none of the factories are exactly Prince Charming to the farmers Cinderella they are at last appearing to act a bit more gentlemanly.

The situation in relation to cull ewes is that official quotes as per the table below remain stuck at €2.50/kg across the board, with both IFA and ICSA reporting on the ground prices of €2.60-2.80/kg - with western plants reported as the most eager for supplies.

Looking at the trade outside of the factory gate ICSA’s John Brooks reflected the optimism of some mart managers.

“Factories have become easier to deal with. The weight limit that was touted by some factories as a line in sand a few weeks ago at 22.5kgs has edged up in some plants to 23kgs.”

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He also highlighted that some factories are killing bigger numbers than normal.

Marts Roundup


THE question on auctioneer John Bush’s mind before last week’s sheep sale was which would come first “a general election or a factory sheep price rise?” On the strength of his report it would appear that sheep prices are going up. John reported that 45-50kg lambs saw better trade with a sample being 46kgs making €104/hd. Cull ewes were up €10-20/hd on two weeks ago at prices of €70-100/hd. Factory hogget’s sold €97-104/hd, with butcher types on €102-104/hd.


CASTLEBLAYNEY Mart also sensed a movement in sheep trade, with Connell Nugent reporting a €20/hd increase in the price of fat ewes last week. Prices here saw 62kg make from €82/hd up to €111/hd for 89kgs. Fat lambs from 44-55kgs made €92-103/hd, with store ewes of 28-35kgs making €52-66/hd. Ram lambs from 35-36kgs made from €64-66/hd.


TRADE at Baltinglass was steady to improved with heavy lambs up €1-2/hd at a top of €110/hd for 50-60kgs, with lighter lambs making €97-98/hd. Store lambs were also a good trade with 34-35kgs making €65-84/hd. Cast ewes went to €102/hd, but your lighter 50kg animal was typically €65/hd. Ewes with lambs at foot made from €140/hd to €180/hd.


THE story at Ballinasloe last Thursday was of smaller numbers and a weaker trade for hoggets with their prices averaging from €88/hd to €92/hd. Stag ewes also started on an average €88/hd but they topped out at €110/hd. Ewes in lamb made from €106/hd to €123/hd, while Suffolk cross ewes with Suffolk lambs at foot hit the top price on the day of €233/hd. The bottom of the this particular section of the market was €197/hd.


YESTERDAY’s sale at Fermoy saw “more bite to the trade” as manager Sean Ryan put it. That bite translated into an improved trade for hoggets, with the heavier 52-55kg animal on €107-113/hd, and the 48-52kgs trading from €101-107/hd, while the lighter 43-48kg animal was most in demand with prices running from €90-101/hd. Cull ewes were also a good trade selling from€60-114. Numbers of ewes with lambs at foot remain small and in strong demand, Sean Ryan pointed out.

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