Sheep trade: Lamb prices moving up as demand strengthens

Unlike the beef trade, lamb prices continue their upward momentum as we enter into the third week of January.

Demand remains strong and, as a result farmers, are advised to get a number of quotes when selling. Kildare Chilling increased its lamb price by 10c/kg this week, while quotes from other processors have remained unchanged.

Base quotes for lambs are currently ranging from 490-510c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance Scheme bonus). All processors quoted are offering prices of 270c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance Scheme bonus) for ewes.

Lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 510c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 495c/kg +5c/kg;
  • ICM Camolin: 490c/kg +10c/kg;
  • ICM Navan: 490c/kg +10c/kg.


During the week ending January 6, the number of lambs slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheep meat plants stood at 47,839 – a decrease of 3,693 from the same week last year.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Sheep marts

Headford Mart

The second sale of the year took place on January 12 and lambs in Headford Mart were making between €65/head and €110/head or €2.00-2.34/kg.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 47kg – €110/head;
  • 40kg – €80/head;
  • 37.5kg – €80/head.

Maam Cross

A 100% clearance rate was achieved at Maam Cross last week. Lambs were trading between €70/head and €100/head, while hoggets averaged €58/head.

Average prices:
  • Blackface and crossbred lambs – €70/head;
  • Hoggets – €58/head;
  • Dry ewes: €51/head;
  • In lamb, blackface ewes: €74/head.

Tullow Mart

850 hoggets were presented for sale at Tullow Mart on Tuesday, January 8.

Hogget prices:
  • >50kg – €114-120/head;
  • >43kg – €95-107/head.

40 “excellent” suffolk cross ewes – scanned carrying 1.9 lambs to a Texel, due in February – sold from €175/head to €195/head. Other in-lamb ewes sold for between €145/head and €182/head.

Sheep Welfare Scheme

In other news, the third year of the Sheep Welfare Scheme will commence on Saturday, February 2.

Existing participants in the scheme will be automatically enrolled in year 3 and will not need to take any action should they wish to remain in the scheme.

Applications for participation in year 3 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme are now being accepted from new entrants to sheep farming.

For the purposes of the scheme, a new entrant to sheep farming is defined as an applicant who has applied for a new herd number from January 1, 2018, and prior to December 31, 2018, or an applicant with an existing herd number who has not held or traded in sheep for a two-year period up to October 31 preceding the scheme year.

All existing scheme applicants and eligible new entrants to the sheep sector should return their forms by Friday, February 1.