Shortage of supply drives lamb prices upwards
"As is the general rule of thumb, the livestock trade is dictated by supply and demand. With numbers of sheep on offer remaining small, prices have lifted in response, resulting in many buyers not being able to fill their orders."
This is George Candler's summation of his sheep sale in Kilkenny yesterday. It's a summary that applies to all marts in the last week, and with very little tweaking you could also apply it this week to the factory trade.
The tightening of supplies which saw prices lift by 10c/kg last week continues, with prices for lamb at most plants up by a further 5-10c/kg. This week's price table (below) sees the two ICM plants raise their quote for lamb by 5c/kg to €4.80+10c/kg quality assurance, while Kildare Chilling's price is better by 10c/kg at €4.90+10c/kg QA.
Neither Dawn Ballyhaunis nor Moyvalley Meats quoted for our table last week but both return this week. Moyvalley crack on to a straight €4.90/kg for lambs, while Dawn quoted €4.80+10c/kg QA yesterday morning.
The trade for cull ewes, which up to two weeks ago showed no signs of life, has shaken itself awake in the last 14 days to the point where yesterday all plants were quoting a base of €2.60/kg, which in most cases is 10c/kg ahead of where they were last week and 20c/kg ahead of their ewe price from two weeks ago.
Kildare Chilling edge the lead from the pack with an additional 10c/kg QA.
Most plants appeared to be offering deals in and around the €5.00-5.10/kg mark yesterday, but IFA national sheep chairman Sean Dennehy said there is a major positive shift in the lamb trade this week and that some factories were paying €5.15/kg.
John Brooks of ICSA noted that factories have started "tricking around with weight limits and prices" as they attempt to hold back the tide.