Sheep trade: Demand for hoggets remains strong

Although Easter has passed, the hogget trade continues to remain strong in processing plants around the country and deals are being done at 610-620c/kg.

Many factory buyers have opted to maintain hogget quotes at last week’s levels. Kepak Athleague is currently offering a base price of 590c/kg, while the two branches of Irish Country Meats (ICM) remain unchanged at 580c/kg. However, Kildare Chilling has moved to lower hogget quotes by 10c/kg and is currently offering 590c/kg.

Hogget quotes:
  • ICM Camolin: 580c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM Navan: 580c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 590c/kg + 5c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 590c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Like previous weeks, factory buyers are slow to offer quotes for spring lambs. However, deals are being done as high as 720c/kg in some locations. Ewe quotes have also remained stable and buyers are offering 300c/kg to secure supplies.

Supplies

The spring lamb market stepped up a gear last week, as factory buyers were keen to secure numbers ahead of the Easter break.

Official figures from the Department of Agriculture’s sheep kill database show that some 1,953 spring lambs were processed during the week ending March 25 – a climb of 1,591 head when compared to the previous week.

Despite the climb in spring lamb numbers, decreases were witnessed in all of the other main sheep throughput categories. Cast (ewe and ram) throughput reduced by a staggering 27.3% or 2,343 head, while hogget numbers decreased by 6% or 2,991 head.

Falling numbers from the cast and hogget categories actually resulted in the sheep kill for the week ending March 25 falling when compared to the previous week.

In total, the weekly sheep kill declined by 6.4% or 3,739 head on the number witnessed during the week ending March 18.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes (week ending March 25):
  • Hoggets: 46,616 head (-2,991 head or -6%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,953 head (+1,595 head or +445.6%);
  • Ewes and rams: 6,253 head (-2,343 head or -27.3%);
  • Total: 54,822 head (-3,739 head or -6.4%).