Sheep trade: 510c/kg top price as factories remain mute on quotes

Sheep factories are remaining noticeably quiet when it comes to offering base quotes this week. However, the general consensus is that 475-495c/kg (excluding quality assurance bonuses) is being offered to secure lambs.

Speaking to large-scale lamb finishers this week, the top price on offer seems to be sitting closer to the 510c/kg (including 10c/kg quality assurance) mark. However, these prices are being realised when lambs are marketed through butchers or wholesalers.

Like last week, ‘dirty’ lambs continue to remain a point of contention and some processors have ramped up their policy on such sheep over recent days.

Farmers have been urged to not chance sending dirty sheep for slaughter. In addition, they have been advised to clip any dirty bellies and tails and to house sheep for 24 hours prior to slaughter.

Also Read: Clean Sheep Policy: Department and factories urged to take ‘practical approach’


Moving to supplies, some 57,698 sheep were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat export plants during the week ending January 14 – an increase of 6,166 head or 12% on the week before.

Increases were reported in the number of lambs processed during the second week of the year, with throughput reaching 49,236 head. That’s a climb of 4,677 head or 10.5% compared to the previous week.

Source: Department of Agriculture

In addition, some 8,457 cast (ewes and rams) slaughterings occurred during the week ending January 14 – an increase of 1,486 head or 21.3% on the number recorded during the first week of the year.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes (week ending January 14):
  • Lambs: 49,236 head (+4,677 head or +10.5%);
  • Ewes and rams: 8,457 head (+1,486 head or +21.3%);
  • Total: 57,698 head (+6,166 head or +12%).

Mart trade roundup

Raphoe Mart

An excellent trade was recorded for the sheep on offer in Monday’s sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, according to the mart’s Anne Harkin. A large number of buyers were in attendance for the lambs on offer.

Light, store lambs (30-35kg) sold for €75-85/head, forward stores (40-46kg) traded at €95-105/head and the butcher and factory lots (47-55kg) on offer made €105-115/head.

Sample lambs prices:
  • 35kg: €87 or €2.49/kg;
  • 38kg: €95.50 or €2.51/kg;
  • 40kg: €99 or €2.48/kg;
  • 48kg: €111 or €2.31/kg;
  • 52kg: €116.50 or €2.24/kg.

A number of ewes with lambs at foot were also on offer on the day. The best of these made €195 (single lambs) and €242 (twin lambs) respectively. In addition, fat ewes sold for €60-136/head.

Carnew Mart

Last Thursday’s sale in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, seen 1,850 sheep pass through the ring. Butcher and factory lambs prices improved by €2-3/head on the previous week’s sale, while cull ewes sold for €78-131/head.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 52kg: €117 or €2.25/kg;
  • 49kg: €115 or €2.35/kg;
  • 47kg: €111 or €2.36/kg;
  • 40kg: €91 or €2.28/kg;
  • 37kg: €86 or €2.32/kg;
  • 35kg: €80 or €2.29/kg.

Thursday’s sale also featured an entry of in-lamb ewes and these lots traded for €120-178/head. A number of ewes with lambs at foot were also on offer and prices of €220-240 (twins) and €120-175 (singles) were realised.

Kilkenny Mart

Some 400 sheep were on offer at Monday’s sale in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill. The mart’s George Candler said a good, solid trade was achieved on the day and lambs peaked at €117. Meanwhile, cull ewes sold to a top call of €136.

Butcher lambs sold for €2.15-2.33/kg, factory lambs made €2.14-2.30/kg and store lambs traded at €2.20-2.35/kg.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 54kg: €116 or €2.15/kg;
  • 53kg: €117 or €2.21/kg;
  • 48kg: €110 or €2.29/kg;
  • 47kg: €103 or €2.19/kg;
  • 39kg: €89 or €2.28/kg;
  • 38kg: €85 or €2.24/kg.

Mountbellew Mart

Last Saturday’s sale in Mountbellew Mart saw a good demand for fleshy lambs, while quality lambs also met a strong trade.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 59.3kg: €114 or €1.92/kg;
  • 50kg: €104 or €2.08/kg;
  • 45.5kg: €95 or €2.09/kg;
  • 40kg: €91 or €2.28/kg;
  • 39kg: €84 or €2.15/kg;
  • 36.8kg: €80 or €2.17/kg.

A strong trade was also reported for all of the cast ewes on offer and prices of €78-144/head were achieved. A number of lamb ewes were also up for grabs and these lots sold for €160 (single lambs).