Factories cut spring lamb prices by 20c/kg, despite tight supplies

Some factories are attempting to cut the price of spring lamb, with base quotes falling by as much as 20c/kg this week.

A number of plants are now offering 620c/kg for spring lambs, while 640c/kg can be achieved if farmers are willing to travel to have their lambs slaughtered.

The fall in spring lamb prices has occurred despite the number of lambs on the market remaining relatively tight, with difficult trading conditions on the continent cited as the main reason for this week’s price drop.

Spring lamb prices

Spring lamb prices:
  • ICM Camolin: 620c/kg
  • ICM Navan: 620c/kg
  • Kildare Chilling: 640c/kg

However, despite the attempt by factories to cut the price paid for spring lambs, the hogget trade has remained unchanged, with the majority of processors paying 540-550c/kg for these lots.

Hogget price:
  • ICM Camolin: 550c/kg
  • ICM Navan: 550c/kg
  • Kepak Athleague: 565c/kg
  • Kildare Chilling: 540c/kg

Ewes have also remained unchanged with plants offering 290-300c/kg for lots up to a 40kg carcass.

Sheep kill

There has been a marked reduction in the number of sheep slaughtered in sheepmeat plants last week, recent figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

During the week ending March 28, the number of sheep killed in Irish sheepmeat processing plants dropped by 8,228 head or 17% on the week before.

The majority of this decrease is as a result of reduced hogget numbers, which are back by over 14% or over 6,000 head.

Figures from the Department show that the weekly hogget kill has dropped over the past three weeks, as supplies are becoming scare on the ground, due to the hogget season coming to a close.

Main markets

The British sheep trade weakened last week, as a result of higher throughput, according to Bord Bia.

In previous weeks, the the trade had improved due to a shortage of numbers, but last week the English and Welsh lamb price made around 555c/kg.

The French trade is also showing some signs of stabilising on the back of a rise in demand, Bord Bia reports.

However, unlike previous weeks, the New Zealand and Spanish lamb had little impact on the French market.

New Zealand lamb production is also set to decline this year, as the most recent figures show that the number of lambs killed during February dropped by 8%. This fall in throughput is due to a reduction in numbers and lighter carcass weights.