Farmers in the driving seat on hogget prices

After a week of price increases, farmers remain firmly in the driving seat when it comes to hogget prices this week.

Monday morning trading saw procurement managers offer quotes of 610-630c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance bonuses) to get numbers through the gates. But some deals are being done above these quotes and reports of 640c/kg have emerged in some locations.

In addition, the lamb trade continues to remain strong and factory buyers are offering 690-700c/kg to secure suitable animals. Activity has also increased at the ringside over recent days, as both factory and butcher buyers compete for lambs.

Some improvement has also been witnessed in the ewe market and procurement managers are starting negotiations with farmers at 300-320c/kg.

Supplies

Much of the increase in the spring lamb and hogget trade of recent weeks relates back to a contraction of the weekly sheep kill during the week ending April 8.

Official figures from the Department of Agriculture’s sheep kill database show that some 43,308 sheep were slaughtered in approved export plants during the week ending April 8 – a fall of 15,132 head on the previous week.

Supply reductions were witnessed in the hogget, spring lamb and cast (ewe and ram) categories. Just 575 spring lambs were slaughtered during the first full week of April, while hogget numbers dipped by 13,818 head to sit at 34,630 head.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes (week ending April 8):

  • Hoggets: 34,630 head (-13,818 head or -28.5%);
  • Spring lambs: 575 head (-1,209 head or -67.8%);
  • Ewes and rams: 8,103 head (-100 head or -1.2%);
  • Total: 43,308 head (-15,132 head or 25.9%).