No movement in hogget prices as supplies continue to tighten

There has been little or no movement in the hogget factory trade this week, with most factories opting to stay at last week’s quoted base price levels.

Most factories are operating 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

Looking at ewe prices, most plants are continuing to offer 270-280c/kg for suitably-fleshed cast ewes.

Like last week, Kepak Athleague is continuing to offer 600c/kg for spring lamb and the other factories are waiting for supplies to come on stream before offering official quotes.

Supplies have tightened

Procurement managers have also reported that hogget supplies have tightened considerably in recent weeks, with one saying “numbers are beginning to get scarce on the ground”.

This can be backed up by figures from the Department of Agriculture, which show that hogget supplies have tightened in recent weeks.

During the week ending March 5, some 38,633 hoggets were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat export plants.

This is a fall of just over 1,700 head or 4.3% on the week before.

A fall was also seen in the throughput of ewes and rams, with supplies down by 741 head (-12%) during the week ending March 5 (compared with the week before).

And when the fall in hogget and ewe and ram supplies are combined, it shows that the weekly sheep kill is back by 1,758 head or 3.8% on the week before.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:

  • Hoggets: -1,726 head (-4.3%)
  • Ewes and rams: -741 head (-12%)
  • Total: -1,758 head (-3.8%)

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, there has been little change reported in the British market with the trade following the trend of recent weeks.

The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales made the equivalent of around 441c/kg deadweight last week.

In France, it says, little change has been reported in the market with reduced demand on the back of lower consumption.

It is hoped that volumes of domestic Lacaune lamb will ease in the coming weeks which should help the trade.

Limited retail promotions have continued, it says, and are seen on legs in one main retailer. Grade 1 Irish lamb made around 473c/kg deadweight (including VAT) last week.