Farm Ireland

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Western factories set trend with 5c/kg rise

Joe Healy

The sheep trade continues to be as steady as the Irish lineout, with positive outcomes for farmers and rugby fans alike.

Since I began doing this column this has been, without doubt, the most positive spell for lamb producers, and it is great to finally experience an air of confidence in a sector that has endured more downs and despair than the present Government; the big difference between the two being that the farmers couldn't afford to go on any junkets for St Patrick's Day -- or, indeed, any other day.

Quotes have moved upwards by 5c/kg in both western plants and have held their own elsewhere. I appreciate that tight supplies are helping the situation, with a strong domestic trade taking around 70pc of the lambs being slaughtered.

The improvement in Kepak Athleague brings it up to a base quote of 470c/kg plus the bonus and leaves it sharing the top of the table with Kildare Chilling.

Moyvalley remains on an all-in quote of 470c/kg, with Dawn Ballyhaunis, Kepak Hacketstown and the two ICM plants quoting 465c/kg plus the bonus for the better-quality types.

Kepak Athleague will be buying the milk lamb again later this week, which is a chance for farmers to test the market with lighter lambs, with potential to kill out between 9-12kg.

The current stability in the market has been welcomed by IFA's James Murphy, who said that it was giving farmers the confidence to properly finish their stock knowing that they would be rewarded for the effort and cost. With 480c/kg widely available, he added that some farmers were successfully bargaining for 485c/kg to 23kg.

The cull ewes have also improved and most plants are up 10c/kg on the quotes of this day last week. As a result, Kildare hold onto the lead at 270c/kg. Kepak Hacketstown is applying the most pressure on them with a quote of 260c/kg. Elsewhere, both ICM plants are offering 250c/kg while Dawn Ballyhaunis is on 220c/kg.

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The sheep trade remains steady, according to Bord Bia, as continuing tight supplies and a stable domestic market help offset a slower export trade.

Quotes for lambs at export meat plants have risen to 470c/kg, while trade for cull ewes remains firm with quotes of 240-250c/kg still being reported this week.

In the UK, trade at the live markets has eased over the past week on the back of a stronger sterling. The average old-season SQQ price stood at the equivalent of 455c/kg including VAT.

Irish Independent