Hogget finishers see prices drop by 65c/kg on last year’s levels

Weak factory demand has seen the base hogget price fall by over 65c/kg when compared to the same week in 2016.

Factory buyers are starting negotiations with farmers at 450-465c/kg (excluding QA bonuses) for 2016 born lambs – a considerable drop on last year’s quoted price of 520c/kg.

This price drop is even more of a worry when looked at on a per head basis, with the 65c/kg difference equating to a €13.65 drop on a 21kg carcass.

A number of factors have combined to lead to these lower prices including strong supplies, as the number of carryover lambs was high this year, and lower demand from key export markets such as the UK and France.

What are factories paying?

After a couple of weeks of unrest,there is little to divide Kepak Athleague and Kildare Chilling when it comes to an ‘all-in’ hogget price, with former working of 465+5c/kg QA while the latter is offering 460+10c/kg QA bonus.

In addition, the two Irish Country Meat (ICM) plants are starting negotiations with farmers at 450c+10c/kg QA bonus.

Base hogget prices:
  • Kepak Athleague: 465c/kg
  • Kildare Chilling: 460c/kg
  • ICM Camolin: 450c/kg
  • ICM Navan: 450c/kg

But despite the relatively weak hogget prices, ewe prices appear to have increased in recent times with most buyers offering 250c/kg for suitably fleshed lots.

Week-on-week hogget supplies

Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that sheep slaughterings have eased slightly in recent weeks.

During the week ending January 29 some 49,643 sheep were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat export plants – a fall of 2,700 head or 5.2% on the week before.

A reduction in hogget and ewe/ram throughput accounts for the majority of this fall, with supplies down by 1,726 head and 938 head respectively.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes: 
  • Hoggets: -1,726 head or -4%
  • Ewes and rams: -938 head or -11%
  • Total: -2.700 head or -5.2% 

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, the British lamb trade continues to be underpinned by strong supplies which is negatively impacting on price.

The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales made the equivalent of 442c/kg last week.

In France, it says, the trade remained slow due to lower demand and an abundance of supply.

Strong supplies of Lacaune and Spanish lambs have been reported in the south of the country with large volumes of UK lamb in the north of France.

Limited retail promotions have continued and are seen on domestically produced legs in one main retailer, it says.