Easter trade yet to kick off – Hogget prices remain unchanged

There has been no movement in hogget quotes this week, with the majority of processors offering prices similar to last weeks levels.

Easter is only two weeks away and some farmers are expecting the hogget price to rise. But, procurement managers say this is unlikely as numbers remain strong.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that hogget throughput has jumped by 11% between the week ending February 28 and March 3.

Hogget prices:
  • Kepak Athleague: 550c/kg
  • ICM Camolin: 540c/kg
  • ICM Navan: 540c/kg
  • Kildare Chilling: 540c/kg

Irish Country Meats is still the only processor offering a quote for spring lambs, with a base price of 640c/kg.

It has also started quoting 800c/kg for milk lambs, which tops Kepak Athleague’s quote of 750c/kg for these lots. However procurement managers advise farmers to get in contact with them about suitable weights.

Ewe prices also remain at similar levels to last week, with sheep factories offering 290-300c/kg for cast ewes.

Export markets

There has been some uplift in the trade reported across the key export markets for Irish sheepmeat on the back of a rise in demand ahead of Easter, according to Bord Bia.

The British sheep trade has strengthened due to tight supplies and the SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales made the equivalent of around €5.42/kg last week, it says.

The tighter supply in the UK may benefit Irish farmers as 28% of the sheepmeat produced in Ireland is exported to the UK.

But, during the month of February there was an increase in the number of hoggets imported from Northern Ireland for slaughter in the south.

Figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show that the number of hoggets imported from Northern Ireland to the Republic jumped by 34% in February 2016 on 2015 levels.

According to Bord Bia, there has been some up lift in the French trade on the back of increased demand leading up to Easter.

A shortage in the supply of New legs of lamb on the French market is leading to a rise in the leg trade for Irish lamb, Bord Bia reports.