Falling numbers fail to boost spring lamb trade

The price pressure on spring lamb quotes has continued into this week. As it stands, most buyers are offering base quotes of 450-460c/kg. In some instances, that’s a drop of 10c/kg on last week.

Furthermore, it means that lamb quotes have dipped by 30c/kg since August 29. On a 21.5kg carcass, that’s a value loss of €6.45/kg.

When Quality Assurance Scheme and producer group bonuses are factored into the equation, it brings the paid price closer to 470-475c/kg.

However, given that factories are slow to raise the carcass weight cut off to 22kg, spring lamb prices are being held below the €100/head mark.

Despite the decline in spring lamb quotes, ewe prices have remained relatively stable in recent weeks. Most buyers are now offering 240c/kg to secure suitable supplies of well-fleshed ewes.

Spring lamb numbers ease

Spring lamb numbers have also eased considerably in recent weeks. Official figures, from the Department of Agriculture, show that some 66,622 sheep were slaughtered in approved export plants during the week ending September 10.

When compared to the week before, that’s a drop of 6,267 head or 9.4%. This reduction is largely due to a decline in spring lamb numbers; throughputs of such animals have fallen by 13,013 head or 19.8% on the number witnessed during the week ending September 2.

However, there was a marked increase in the number of cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings during the first full week of September. These throughputs were almost double the quantity seen during the week ending September 2.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Spring lambs: 52,710 head (-13,013 head or -19.8%);
  • Ewes and rams: 13,753 head (+7,100 head or +93.7%);
  • Total: 66,622 head (-6,267 head or -9.4%).

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