Sheep Factory Prices: Kill stats give lie to factory complaints


Sheep in Manorhamilton Mart. Photo Brian Farrell
Sheep in Manorhamilton Mart. Photo Brian Farrell

If you were to believe what you hear from some processors, the trade is "not altogether great" right now.

But while all farm representatives would concede that some spring lamb and hoggets being presented are "scrappy", with too little cover, there are those on the factory side who appear to be over-playing this line.

They may have identified it as the issue with the greatest potential to rein in prices at present.

I'm not buying it, and neither are the sheep farmers I spoke to over the weekend, because the figures don't lie.

Bord Bia figures up to the end of April show the national sheep kill is 856,542, which is up 2pc or 16,804 on the same period for 2017.

At the same time quoted prices for hogget are currently running from €1.20-1.50/kg ahead of last year, with spring lamb also up €1.10/kg ahead of 2017's price.

The reality is that despite the difficulties the spring of 2018 threw up, both farmers and factories are getting through the numbers.

Hence, yesterday morning quotes for spring lamb remained were generally unchanged at last week's levels, but Kildare Chilling actually put up its quote by 10c/kg to a market-leading €7.00/kg +10c/kg bonus.

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Kildare also lead the way on hogget prices with their quote of €6.20/kg plus 10c/kg bonus. Following up smartly on the spring lamb side are Moyvalley Meats and Kepak Athleague, both of whom leave their €7.00/kg quote from last week unchanged.

Also unchanged for lamb are the two ICMs on €6.80+10c/kg bonus, and Dawn Ballyhaunis, who remain on a straight €6.80/kg.

There is far less division on the hogget side as those below Kildare Chilling's €6.20+bonuses get all their ducks in a row on a base of €6.00/kg, with the two ICMs also adding their 10c/kg quality payment to the mix.

Official quotes for ewes see all those with an interest in that side of the business coming exactly into line at €3.00/kg, with Kildare possibly edging it with their 10c/kg bonus. However, Kildare shaved 30c/kg off their quote for cull ewes compared to last week.

On the ground both IFA and ICSA reported that the general run of hogget prices is from €6.40-6.50/kg, with IFA's Sean Dennehy claiming €6.60/kg is possible.

John Brooks reckoned €7.00/kg was where the price for spring lamb from farm to factory was at.

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