‘Factories and butchers will be looking for lambs’

Factories and butchers will be looking for lambs in the next two weeks, according to the IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey.

The Mayo-based farmer said there have been very few spring lambs available on the market to date and with Easter Sunday occurring on April 16, factories will be on the look out for lambs.

Factories have started offering €6/kg for new season lambs, but Lynskey said with the high production costs and work involved with early lambing systems, a price of €7/kg is needed.

Lynskey added that the combination of Easter and Ramadan, which falls in May this year, should lead to strong demand for lambs during the months of April and May.

Factories need to pay to 21-21.5kg carcasses, he said, in order to ensure a reasonable return to producers of early lambs.

Factory trade round-up

Little movement was seen in the hogget factory trade this week, with most factories opting to stay at last week’s quoted base price levels.

Most factories operated off a base price of 490-495c/kg (excluding the Bord Bia Quality Assurance bonus), with the latter price being offered by Kepak Athleague.

Kildare Chilling and the two Irish Country Meats’ plants are also beginning negotiations with farmers at 492c/kg and 490c/kg respectively.

Hogget prices:
  • ICM Camolin: 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA
  • ICM Navan: 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA
  • Kepak Athleague: 495c/kg + 5c/kg QA
  • Kildare Chilling: 492c/kg + 10c/kg QA

Lynskey added that agents and factories found it more difficult to secure stock as the week progressed. And, on the back of tighter supplies, some farmers were being paid 510-520c/kg for hoggets.

Numbers at the marts are smaller, he said, and the factory kill last week was back 7,000 head compared to the same week last year.

To date this year the kill is 47,144 ahead of last year, clearly indicating that any overhang is gone and numbers may get scarce over the coming weeks, he added.