Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Volatility evident as lambs tumble 40c/kg in a week

Joe Healy

Everything was going so well. Leinster had summoned a second half performance from their stars to secure a second Heineken Cup, the queen's visit was an unqualified success and President Barack Obama has come and gone with smiles all round. But just in case we were getting carried away on good news stories, we are reminded of the volatility associated with our sheep trade as lambs take a significant tumble.

Quotes have dropped by as much as 40c/kg (€8-9/hd) over the past week. Allied to this, it is clear to see that actual prices being paid, while above the quotes, are much closer to the quoted figures than they have been in recent weeks, with the gap now running at 10-20c/kg as opposed to 20-30c/kg previously.

You will see from the table that almost all of the plants are quoting a base of 590c/kg plus the bonuses. This represents a reduction of 40c/kg in the Kepak and ICM plants as well as Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kildare Chilling. The latter plant is also offering an extra bonus of 5c/kg for Quality Assured stock. Moyvalley's all-in quote of 600c/kg shows it to have 'only' dropped by 20c/kg.


Commenting on the trade, the IFA's James Murphy said that some factories are paying 610-615c/kg including bonuses and that the present difficult weather conditions were keeping supplies tight. He added that farmer resistance to the concerted factory price pressure was strong.

With the hogget trade almost at an end, only Kildare Chilling was offering a quote for today -- and probably just as well because its 490c/kg+6+5 is a massive 80c/kg back from the base of 570c/kg that was on offer seven days ago.

Cull ewes are reasonably firm. A bit of downward pressure is also obvious here as quotes are down by 10-20c/kg in a few of the plants while remaining steady in others.

Kepak Hacketstown holds top spot by virtue of retaining its quote of 300c/kg. A reduction of 20c/kg in Kildare leaves it level with the two ICMs at 280c/kg. Dawn and Moyvalley are offering 270c/kg.

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The sheep trade, according to Bord Bia, eased further during the week as the ongoing increase in spring lamb supplies and a more sluggish market demand affected trade.

Quotes for spring lambs were in the €6.20-6.40/kg range, although more than this is reported to be available. There was little change to report in the cull ewe trade with quotes typically making around €2.90/kg.

In the UK, the spring lamb trade has slowed down in response to a strong increase in supplies over the past week. By the weekend, live market prices stood at the equivalent of €6.69/kg for new season lambs.

In France, the market weakened during the week as strong supplies from the UK, and a lesser extent Ireland, met a slower demand. Towards the end of the week, prices for Irish grade one spring lamb were said to be making €6.31-6.51/kg.

Indo Farming