We must bargain hard for best price
Sheep farmers will be happy to know that the clocks were the only thing that went back in the past week. Lamb quotes have remained steady at a base of 435c/kg for the fourth week in a row and continue to run at about 5c/kg below last year's levels.
It is imperative that farmers bargain hard for a higher quote than that first offered, because prices of 455-460c/kg are being secured by those who argue.
The majority of lambs are being sold for 450-455c/kg but a top price of 460c/kg has been negotiated when all bonuses are included.
Moyvalley Meats is the only plant different to the rest and it is still offering an all-in quote of 450c/kg. Elsewhere, Kildare Chilling is the best of the rest by virtue of its extra 5c/kg Quality Assurance bonus on top of the 5c/kg U grade bonus. It has the same base quote of 435c/kg as the rest of the plants.
Commenting on the trade, IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said farmers were becoming disgruntled and frustrated at the negative attitude of the processors at a time when French prices remain strong and British processors were paying over 470c/kg to their suppliers.
He added that returns needed to increase to cover the extra 20-30c/kg in meal costs that farmers had incurred in finishing lambs this year.
Cull ewe quotes have also retained the status quo. Kildare Chilling continues to set the pace with its 185c/kg quote. The two ICM plants and Kepak Hacketstown are offering 180c/kg. Kepak Athleague and Dawn Ballyhaunis remain on 170c/kg.
To date this year, sheep supplies at meat export plants are running around 10pc or 192,000hd higher at 2.09m head, Bord Bia stated. This is a huge increase year on year and it is positive that the market has absorbed it fairly seamlessly.