Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 February 2018

West awakens with quote up to 450c/kg


Joe Healy

Sheep farmers could well do with a fraction of the top-ups that many of our hospital managers are getting. Even a small top-up or increase in price would help but it would need to be a bit more than the 5c/kg increase that we see from only one of the plants today.

Credit where credit is due though, and while their county football champions and current All-Ireland champions were made to settle for second best in the Connacht final on Sunday, Kepak Athleague appear anxious to take first prize when it comes to lamb quotes this week.

They are the only plant showing positive movement and the 5c/kg rise moves them up on their own to a base of 445c/kg plus the bonus.

Kildare Chilling are there or thereabouts when their Quality Assurance (QA) bonus is added to their unchanged base of 440c/kg plus the 5c/kg U grade bonus. Moyvalley's all-in 450c/kg keeps them up there too. Elsewhere, it's a case of "as you were", with both ICM plants, Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kepak Hacketstown all continuing to quote a base of 440c/kg plus the bonus.

There does just seem to be a little more life about the trade this week as the onset of the Christmas trade probably begins to kick in.

Marts are also a bit livelier at the moment with factory agents actively competing for suitable stock. If selling to the processor, it is imperative that you bargain because different farmers are getting carcass weights of 22kg, 22.5kg and 23kg, while prices vary from 455c/kg up to 470c/kg.

As per usual, there is a significant differences between what the hard sellers are securing and what the lads accepting the first quote are getting.

The producer groups are feeling very hard done by at the moment and justifiably so as the factories are using the low base quote of 440c/kg to manipulate the price.

Also Read

As a result, the overall price, including bonuses, is not even reaching the levels individual producers are negotiating. The groups feel aggrieved because they have given a commitment to supply a consistent number of ideally finished quality lambs week in, week out and are now finding themselves more or less in a situation that they would be better off not being tied to the group or a particular factory.

Both Kepak plants have moved up 10c/kg on the cull ewes. This brings them up to 190c/kg alongside Dawn Ballyhaunis but still 10c/kg behind both ICMs and Kildare Chilling where 200c/kg is being offered. Actual prices being negotiated can be up between 220-230c/kg.

To date this year, sheep supplies at meat export plants are at 2.31m head, 9pc higher compared to 2012 results.

The trade across Britain eased last week as supply levels exceeded demand levels. By the weekend, new season lamb at live markets across England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €4.60/kg.

In France, the trade eased in response to some increase in British lamb supplies and slower demand and grade 1 Irish lamb was making around €4.50kg.


A number of marts reported an improvement to the trade over the past week as farmers were active for store lambs with the mild weather continuing to help the grass situation on farms. Factory agents were also quite keen with suitably finished stock inviting healthy competition.

In Athenry yesterday, the fleshed lambs were selling for €48-59 over the €1/kg, with €112 paid for 53kg or €59 with the weight. The top price however was for a pen of ewe lambs weighing 61kg and selling for €115. Lighter lambs made from €30 to €47 over the weight, with 41kg making €88.

Nice quality pens of lambs around 45-47kg were selling for €90-100. Cull ewes ranged from a low of €20 up to €80. The good lambs at Fermoy Mart were making from €47-55 with the €1/kg. Lighter types sold for €37-47 over. Trade was firm for the fit lambs in Kilkenny, where prices were similar to the previous week at €40-50 over the weight for the 40-50kg lambs while the heavier lambs were making from €47-54 over. There was strong demand for stores with prices of up to €90 paid.

Carnew had 2,400 sheep for sale. Prices were improved by €3-5 for both stores and fleshed lambs with butcher and factory lambs selling from €98-108. Stores made €65-88.

Mountbellew reported a smaller number of sheep on offer compared to the previous week. Good demand for quality lots of fleshy lambs which sold for €90-102 each or up to €52 with their weight. There was also brisk demand for heavier lots of store lambs with prices making up to €86. Lighter lots sold back to €60/hd. Cull ewes ranged from €50 to €81.

Sheep numbers were down at Dowra Mart on Friday last but reported a small improvement in the trade.

The best of the store lambs made €60-82. Lighter pens of stores were making €35-60. Strong ewe lambs sold for €70-90. The lighter types made €45-70 each. Heavy cull ewes ranged from €50 to €75. Feeding ewes made from €25 to €50 each.

Blackface mountain ewes with mixed mouths and suitable for breeding made €21-58 over in Maam Cross. Hoggets made up to €85. Crossbred lambs sold for €30-68 in the main, with a top price of €86. Black face wether and ram lambs traded at €18-44/hd. Breeding rams generally made from €45 to €80, with up to €195 paid for the better quality rams.

Irish Independent