Farm Ireland

Friday 23 February 2018

Shy stock numbers keeping up prices

Joe Healy

It's far from the no-show for our rugby team in Paris but the supplies of lambs to the factories remain very tight and factory sources openly admit that it is proving difficult to secure adequate numbers.

The strong trade up to now has not only tempted the farmers to keep lambs moving but has also left them in a position financially that has them under a lot less pressure to sell compared to previous years.

I can't really envisage any great jump in supplies over the next 6-8 weeks. What the farmer needs to watch out for now is that if his stock is going into heavier weights than he will get paid for in the factory, the mart is the better option with the wholesale trade continuing strongly.

The advice is the same if your lambs or cull ewes are unfinished and in need of further feeding.

The quotes for today show very little change on last week. Moyvalley is the only plant that shows any movement and, unfortunately, it is a slightly negative move with a drop of 5c/kg leaving it on an all-in quote of 530c/kg. Despite this, the processor is still more or less sharing top spot with Kepak Athleague and Kildare Chilling. The Roscommon plant remains on a base quote of 525c/kg plus the bonus, while the Lilywhites plant continues to offer 520c/kg plus 6c/kg on top of the 5c/kg for quality assured stock.


The two ICM factories along with Kepak Hacketstown and Dawn Ballyhaunis all remain on a base of 520c/kg plus the bonus. IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said that lamb prices are solid, at 535-545c/kg, up to 23.5kg with quality assured lambs in strong demand.

He added that farmers need to ensure they are getting the maximum value for their stock as costs are extremely high for carrying lambs to this stage.

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The processors are anxious for cull ewes. Quotes remain strong, with Kildare holding steady at the top on 320c/kg.

Dawn and both ICMs are quoting 300c/kg, while an unchanged 290c/kg is being offered by the two Kepak outfits.

Bord Bia reported that the sheep trade firmed throughout the past week for cull ewes, while trade was mostly unchanged for hoggets as lower supplies helped maintain this market.

Quotes for hoggets by the end of the week were still making up to €5.25/kg as demand shifted towards cull ewes. By the end of the week, the cull ewe trade firmed with quotes around €3/kg.

Indo Farming