Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Weaker sterling and sluggish French market hurting trade

A selection of top-class pedigree rams are shown off at the Donegal Suffolk Breeders' Show and Sale at Raphoe Mart
A selection of top-class pedigree rams are shown off at the Donegal Suffolk Breeders' Show and Sale at Raphoe Mart

Joe Healy

Lamb prices are a bit like the leaders of our two main political parties in that they are hanging on in there despite continued pressure.

Factory sources are pointing to a sluggish French market coupled with a weakening sterling as the big negatives to the trade at the moment.

Supplies on the domestic scene have helped to maintain the quotes at levels similar to last week. Incidentally, on a year-to-date basis, supplies remain 14pc lower, with lamb disposals down by 12pc. Meanwhile, cull ewe throughput is running 24pc lower.

A slight slippage of 5c/kg is evident in some of the plants but, for the most part, the status quo remains. Top spot is shared by the two Kepak plants and Dawn Ballyhaunis. They are all quoting a base of 420c/kg plus the bonus. Moyvalley is offering an unchanged all-in 420c/kg. A drop of 5c/kg sees Kildare Chilling's quote at 410c/kg plus 6c/kg, plus a further 5c/kg bonus for the quality-assured lambs.

Both ICM plants are on 410c/kg plus 6c/kg. IFA's James Murphy said that lambs were making from 430-440c/kg up to 22.5kg and that factories were just having to give up to 20c/kg above the quotes in order to get stock.

Kildare are tops for the cull ewes at 250c/kg. The Kepaks and ICMs are still at 240c/kg, with Dawn Ballyhaunis remaining on 220c/kg. Moyvalley Meats is not quoting for the culls. According to the latest reports from Bord Bia, lamb in Britain has eased slightly during the week, reflecting slow market demand and stable supplies. Towards the weekend, the average new season SQQ live mart price in England and Wales stood at the equivalent of 405c/kg including VAT.

In France, trade remains slow for imported lamb, although volumes on the market remain light. Price for Irish lamb remained under pressure with Grade 1 Irish spring lamb delivered to Paris making around 442c/kg.

The latest English June 2010 livestock survey showed that the English sheep flock remains under pressure. Numbers fell by 2pc to 14.1m head. This is mainly attributed to the number of lambs dropping by over 3pc to 7.74m head, reflecting falling breeding ewes numbers and poor lambing rates last spring.

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