Sheep trade: More good news for farmers with factory-fit lambs

The recent rise is lamb quotes has continued with all processors implementing more price increases this week. There has been a good demand for factory-ready lambs of late, as supplies continue to remain on the tight side.

Farmers are encouraged to bargain hard when it comes to marketing their animals as factory agents are hungry for lambs.

The farmers in the best position to achieve higher processors are those with large numbers of lambs to market; there are reports of farmers receiving over quoted prices in some instances.

This week, many procurement managers are starting negotiations with farmers at 505-530c/kg (excluding quality assurance (QA) and producer group bonuses) for lambs – up from 495-515c/kg last week.

When QA payments are factored in, this brings prices to 525-530c/kg, while factory agents are currently offering 270c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance Scheme bonus) for well-fleshed ewes.

Kildare Chilling and Kepak have increased base quotes by 5c/kg, while both Irish Country Meats’ plants have increased base quotes by 20c/kg.

Lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 530c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 505c/kg + 15c/kg;
  • ICM Camolin: 520c/kg +10c/kg;
  • ICM Navan: 520c/kg +10c/kg.

The weekend saw a return to heavy rainfall in many areas; therefore, farmers are being encouraged to be mindful of the Clean Livestock Policy (CLP).

Also Read: Pics: Putting the Clean Livestock Policy for sheep under the spotlight


Some 55,418 head of sheep were processed in Department of Agriculture approved slaughtering plants during the week ending January 20.

This brings the total number of sheep slaughtered so far this year in Ireland to 158,263 head – a 55,418 head increase on 2018 levels.

Lamb throughput stood at 44,950 head for the week ending January 20; that’s an increase of 720 head on the week before.

In addition, cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings fell by 314 head to reach 10,468 head.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending January 20):
  • Lambs/hoggets: 44,950 head (+720 head or +1.6%);
  • Ewes and rams: 10,468 head (-314 head or -2.9%);
  • Total: 55,418 head (-406 head or -0.7%).

Mart trade

There is also good news for sheep farmers on the mart front. The demand for store lambs has increased in recent weeks and so too have the prices.

Some farmers with factory-fit lambs are in a good position in the marts, as both factory agents and butchers compete for stock.

Baltinglass Mart

Some 700 sheep were presented for sale on Saturday last, January 26. The trade was reported to be good, with prices improved by €3-5/head.

On the day, cast ewes sold for €65-121/head, while in-lamb ewes made from €115-160/head.

Sample prices:
  • 53kg: €131 or €2.47/kg;
  • 51kg: €126 or €2.47/kg;
  • 52kg: €125 or €2.40/kg;
  • 50kg: €125 or €2.50/kg;
  • 46kg: €123 or €2.67/kg;
  • 45kg: €121 or €2.68/kg;
  • 40kg: €114 or €2.85/kg;
  • 37kg: €90 or €2.43/kg;
  • 29kg: €80 or €2.75/kg.

Maam Cross Mart

Store lambs were reported to be a very strong trade at the latest sale in Maam Cross Mart. These lots averaged €68/head.

On the day, hoggets averaged €70/head, while a top price of €89/head was paid for three cross-bread weather hoggets.

A top price of €92/head was achieved by two Cheviot dry ewes, while dry ewes sold at €66/head on average. Furthermore, rams averaged €59/head.

Kilkenny Mart

Numbers were reported to be small at Kilkenny Mart yesterday, January 28. However, a sharper trade for butcher and forward store hoggets was reported by the mart’s auctioneer George Candler.

On the day, butcher lambs sold at €2.15-2.46/kg, while factory lambs made €2.35-2.49/kg. In addition, store lambs made €2.40-2.85/kg.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 59kg: €129 or €2.19/kg;
  • 56kg: €129 or €2.30/kg;
  • 52kg: €128 or €2.46/kg;
  • 49kg: €119 or €2.43/kg;
  • 45kg: €110 or €2.44/kg;
  • 43kg: €107 or €2.49/kg;
  • 39kg: €100 or €2.56/kg.