Tough sell secures 460c/kg purchase
Even extra-time could not separate Kilcoo and Crossmaglen in the Ulster football championships last Sunday. The situation is being mirrored in the sheep trade, with lamb quotes from all the sheep factories virtually identical to each other for the past five weeks.
Not only that but it looks like they are also immovable, with a base quote of 435c/kg being repeated by most plants every week. This week is no different, with only Moyvalley Meats showing any variation. It has an all-in quote of 440c/kg, which is a drop of 10c/kg on last week.
This new lower price more or less brings the plant into line with the other factories, although Kildare Chilling, by virtue of its extra 5c/kg Quality Assurance bonus, is ahead of the rest for suitable stock.
I know I often advise farmers to bargain hard but at the moment it is more important than ever to do so. I am aware of one farmer who sold his lambs recently at the quoted figure of 435c/kg plus the bonus to 22kg. Another tougher seller managed to secure 460c/kg and up to 22.5kg carcase weight.
At that higher price, the second farmer achieved a gross price of €103.50, while the first farmer, the easy seller, grossed €96.80/lamb. That €6.70/lamb difference is too much money to lose out on, especially given how tight margins are in lamb production.
I should add that if you have a well fed lamb fit for slaughter, you have a very marketable animal and factories are quite anxious for this type at the moment. A number of lambs are being killed that should have been fed some meal for the past month or six weeks and are not killing out well.
If you are running tight on grass but feel that your lambs are not heavy enough to sell, there is some demand currently for lighter types killing out around 14-15kg with 460c/kg being paid for them.
IFA sheep chairman James Murphy described the lamb trade as more positive in recent days, with more factories paying €4.60/kg to get lambs. He said some plants had paid more money on higher weights of 22.5kg to procure larger lots.