Sheep marts: Some expensive store lambs struggle to breakeven

Farmers who bought expensive store lambs in late 2015 are struggling to make a profit on these sheep now, according to Joe Wynne, Mart Manager of Headford Mart.

Wynne said that store lambs were too dear in the autumn of 2015 and the high prices put some farmers off purchasing.

However, he said the farmers that did commit to feeding stores are now struggling to breakeven, as finished lamb price is too low when compared to the store lamb price they paid previously.

Factory lambs are currently making 550-565c/kg in plants this week.

The relatively good lamb price in September and October also caused an increase in the number of lambs going for direct slaughter, he said, which is keeping current lamb supplies tight.

However, things look a little brighter in Fermoy Mart, according to the Mart Manger Sean Leahy.

He said that farmers who purchased stores and are bringing them to heavy weights are getting between €120-140 for these lambs.

Factory and butcher lambs traded from €2.57-2.80/kg and €2.60-2.80/kg on Monday, he said.

Sheep trade roundup

Headford Mart

There were over 400 sheep on offer in Headford Mart on Saturday, according to the Mart Manager Joe Wynne.

The small number of lambs on offer is keeping the trade positive, he said, with butcher lambs selling from €2.36-2.52/kg, while factory lambs traded from €2.40-2.70/kg.

Ewe lambs continue to remain in demand from farmers and these lots generally sold from €120-140 each, Wynne said.

He added that there were a small number of in-lamb ewes on offer and these lots traded from €140-185 each. However, there was not ewes with lambs at foot for sale.

Raphoe Mart

There were 780 sheep on offer in Raphoe mart on Monday and there was a strong trade for factory lambs, according to the Mart Manager Anne Harkin.

Harkin said that the number of factory agents present around the ring has increased in recent weeks and this is having a positive impact on the trade with factory lambs selling from €60-92 over.

She added that store lambs continue to remain in good demand, but the numbers passing through the ring were back on previous weeks. The 15 lots on offer sold from €50-70 over.

Cast ewes also continue to hold steady, she said, the hammer fell on these lots from €80-140 each.

The Mart Manager also said that a number of farmers are starting to sell in-lamb ewes, as they are cutting back on numbers.

In-lamb ewes sold from €140-190, while ewes with lambs at foot traded from €150-190 and €200-280 for ewes with single and twin lambs, respectively.

Fermoy Mart

The sheep trade continued to remain strong in Fermoy Mart on Monday, according to the Mart Manager Sean Leahy.

Leahy said that factory lambs sold from €118-127 each, while the heavier factory lots traded from €130-140.

He added that there was a small number of store lambs on offer and the hammer fell on these lots from €2.50-2.67/kg or from €100-112 each.

The ewe and lamb trade has improved in Fermoy Mart he said, with three year old ewe with twin lambs at foot making €235. Cast ewes also remain in demand and these lots sold from €70-141 each.