The sheep trade, and particularly hoggets, has continued to remain in a positive position this week following an uplift in prices in recent weeks.

Hogget quotes have climbed 15-20c/kg since the beginning of February.

And the majority of plants are now starting negotiations with farmers at 490-495c/kg when Quality Assurance and producer group bonuses are ignored.

This comes as hogget throughput has tightened considerably and factory buyers report “tight” numbers again this week.

Hogget quotes:

  • ICM Camolin: 490c/kg + 10c QA
  • ICM Navan: 490c/kg + 10c QA
  • Kepak Athleague: 495c/kg + 5c QA
  • Kildare Chilling: 495c/kg + 10c QA

But, base quotes still have a long way to go to match last year’s levels, with quotes back by 45-50c/kg when compared to the 540c/kg on offer this time last year.

The difference in base price alone will see farmers out of pocket to the tune of €10.50 on a 21kg lamb carcass.

Meanwhile, the majority of processors are offering between 270-280c/kg for suitably fleshed cast ewes.

Top price of 520c/kg

IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said factories are paying 510c/kg for hoggets this week and a top price of 520c/kg is being paid in some cases.

Lynskey said carcass weights are negotiable in places, but most plants are trying to impose a cut-off of 23kg of hogget carcasses.

He advised feeders to select lambs carefully and negotiate specifically on any heavier lambs they bring forward for slaughter.

Main markets for Irish sheepmeat

According to Bord Bia, the British lamb trade saw some increase on the back of tightening supplies last week.

Lamb throughput for the year to date is currently 9% higher compared to the same period in 2016, it says.

The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales made the equivalent of 446c/kg (deadweight) towards the end of last week.

In France, it says, the market continues to remain slow on the back of reduced demand with strong supplies of domestically-produced Lacaune lamb on the market.

Limited retail promotions have continued and are seen on legs in one main retailer.

Mart trade round-up

Tullow Mart

There was another large sale of hoggets in Tullow Mart on Tuesday, according to Mart Manager Eric Driver, with the trade remaining steady.

The Mart Manager said there was no major improvement on last weeks price’s, but there was lots of activity around the ring for fleshed hoggets.

The majority of these, weighing 48kg and up, sold for €118-120, while the forward store lots weighing 43-44kg traded for €95-104/head.

The number of lighter stores on offer continued to decline, he said, with the majority selling for €75 and up, with €90/head being paid for hoggets weighing 36-37kg.

Driver also said there was a good trade for cast ewes, with the trade improving noticeably week-on-week.

Ewes suitable for feeding sold for €10-18 over, with ewes weighing 60-75kg making €75-90 each, while the heavier fleshed ewes sold to a top price of €125.

In-lamb ewes, he said, traded for €135-170. Aged ewes with single lambs at foot made €120, while younger ewes with twins sold to a top price of €205/head.

Kilkenny Mart

The trade remained firm for the small number of hoggets in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Monday, according to Mart Auctioneer George Candler.

Some 250 hoggets passed through the ring, with a top price of €124 being achieved for one bunch of hoggets on the day.

Butcher hoggets traded for €108-124/head, while the lighter factory classes sold for €95-105/head or €2.20-2.40/kg.

There was also a number of cast ewes on offer and these lots sold for €40-133/head.

Sample prices:

  • 57kg – €118 or €2.07/kg
  • 54kg – €124 or €2.30/kg
  • 52kg – €120 or €2.31/kg
  • 48kg – €115 or €2.40/kg
  • 46kg – €104 or €2.26/kg
  • 44kg – €100 or €2.27/kg

Raphoe Mart

There was a good trade for all of the sheep on offer in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal on Monday, according to Mart Manager Anne Harkin.

Hoggets weighing 50-60kg sold for €105-120/head, lots weighing 41-48kg sold for €95-100, while the lighter stores on offer made €75-90 each.

A number of ewes also passed through the ring, with ewes with one lamb fetching €140-180, ewes with doubles at foot traded for €95-110/unit, while the cast ewes on offer sold for €75-90.