Farm Ireland

Monday 23 April 2018

Tight supplies prompt five plants to lift prices

Joe Healy

It's nothing to get too excited about but it's moving in the right direction all the same -- and, no, I'm not talking about last Saturday's result from Croke Park.

Sheep farmers will be glad to see that almost five of the plants have upped their lamb quotes by 10c/kg since this day last week. Of the remaining two, Moyvalley is holding its own and remains at the top of the table with its all-in quote of 470c/kg, while a drop of 5c/kg in Kildare Chilling brings it back to a base of 460c/kg plus the 6c/kg bonus. Given that they were so far ahead of the rest last week, this drop still keeps them at the same level as all of the others despite a 10c/kg increase in those same factories.

ICM Camolin is not killing again until Thursday so its quote was for yesterday only.

Overall, it is positive for the lamb trade at the moment with continuing tight supplies helping to underpin prices. Farmers are also successfully bargaining for a carcass weight of 23kg as well as prices for well above the quotes.

IFA's James Murphy said that up to 30c/kg over the quotes was having to be paid in order to get supplies and that 480-490c/kg was widely available from factories.

Translated into money in the hand, the bit of bargaining could leave you with 490c/kg up to 23kg, which works out at €112.70 before stoppages. Compare this to the farmer that just drops in his lambs and takes what he gets, which could be as low as the quote of 460c/kg on 22.5kg. Allowing for the bonus, he will only get €104.85. Without the bonus, his price will be €103.50. I think the lesson here for farmers is pretty clear: why lose €8-9/lamb?

Heavy lambs between 50 and 55kg made up to €60 over the weight in Athenry Mart yesterday, with the 44-47kg lambs selling for €50-56 with their weight.

Kildare is tops for the cull ewes with its quote of 270c/kg. Both ICM plants are on 250c/kg, while the Kepaks are offering 240c/kg. Dawn Ballyhaunis is quoting 220c/kg, and, in contrast to its position on the lamb table, Moyvalley's unchanged quote of 200c/kg puts it at the bottom of the pecking order for the cull ewes.

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The sheep trade improved slightly last week, according to Bord Bia, with market demand steady as significantly lower supplies helped lift prices. This, combined with some strengthening in sterling, has resulted in Irish hoggets becoming more competitive. Quotes for lambs at export meat plants were generally in the range of 465c/kg, with quotes of 430-440c/kg being reported for light lambs.

Irish Independent