Farm Ireland

Saturday 21 July 2018

Sheep: Quotes down by up to 10c/kg as imports hit home

9/Aug/2017 Roscommon Mart
Lot Number 13
Weight 50.33K
Quantity 6
Type Ewe Lambs
Price. €105
Photo Brian Farrell
9/Aug/2017 Roscommon Mart Lot Number 13 Weight 50.33K Quantity 6 Type Ewe Lambs Price. €105 Photo Brian Farrell
The Kepak factory in Athleague. Photo: Ray Ryan
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

The story in the lamb trade recently has been one of factory price pulls while the store trade holds very firm at the marts.

The ICM group dropped its quote for lamb this week by 10c/kg to €4.40/kg+ quality assurance (QA) of 10c/kg.

Kildare Chilling also shaved 10c/kg off their base to slip in alongside Moyvalley Meats on €4.50/kg, although their 10c/kg QA does give them an edge. Edging ahead of Kildare this week are Kepak Athleague who hold their quote from last week of €4.60+5c/kg QA steady. Dawn Ballyhaunis didn't have a quote available yesterday morning.

Numbers are the issue with several factories reported as having put farmers with sheep to kill off by three to four days last week, thus insuring a carry over into this week.

Figures from Bord Bia show that cumulative figures for the year to September 22 show factory throughput at the export plants is up 10pc at 195,500 on the same period last year.

CSO figures show that total Irish sheep meat exports for the period January to July are up 12pc and 11pc in value and volume. For the first seven months of 2017, Ireland exported 29,000 tonnes of sheep meat, equivalent to €167m in trade.

But right now those extra numbers are not translating into profits at the factory gate for the farmers.

This point was taken up by ICSA's John Brooks who criticised the factories for continuing to import sheep from Northern Ireland for slaughter.

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"It's a deliberate ploy to further undermine farmer confidence by forcing prices lower," he said.

The Northern Ireland Livestock and Meat Commission reported that 7,209 lambs were exported south in the first week of October along with 1,603 ewes and rams.

Imports from the North play an important role in the northern sheep economy as well as in the calculations of Southern plants, calculations that have to take account of sterling, which yesterday morning stood at 89p to the euro.

In France, trade has remained unchanged from previous weeks where trade and consumption are quite weak. The current spell of mild weather is curtailing demand. Grade 1 lambs are trading between €4.50-€4.70/kg, and grade 2s are trading at a price between €4.20-€4.30/kg. There are no promotions running in retailers this week on lamb, as retailers are pushing mainly pork and beef.

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