Lamb prices ‘moving up sharply’ as Eid drives demand

Lamb prices moved up sharply this week, driven by rising demand ahead of the significant Muslim festival of Eid Al Adha, which begins on July 30, farmers have been told.

Commenting, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) National Sheep Committee chairman Sean Dennehy highlighted the tightening of throughput.

He noted that, to get the numbers they need, some factories have had to increase their base price by as much as 20c/kg, with top prices including bonuses reaching €5.90/kg.

He said all factories have increased quoted prices and paid prices this week to get lambs.

Prices are ranging from €5.65/kg to €5.75/kg, with top prices of €5.90/kg including bonuses paid. Farmers are also negotiating on weights up to 21.5kg.

The chairman said factories are not able to get lambs at the lower quoted prices and are having to pay 30c/kg to 35c/kg over quotes to get lambs.

Dennehy said some factories are talking to suppliers and groups, trying to pin down numbers and supplies right up to early August to be able to service the demand for Eid.

“Substantially lower volumes of New Zealand imports into the UK and across the EU have left the market short.”

New Zealand is reporting that its EU imports were down 28% in April and 15% in June, compared to 2019 levels, he noted.

Dennehy said this is a demand-led market lift as the weekly kills are consistently exceeding last year’s numbers.

Last week kill was 64,386; and to date this year we are 71,420 ahead of last year, of which 52,535 are spring lambs.

The chairman said the store trade is also robust in the marts with 35kg lambs making €85. Also, the breeding sales have got off to a flying start.

“Good grass growth is driving farmer demand and store lambs at the marts are trading solidly.

This is critical as factory buyers have to pay premium prices at mart sales to get the numbers they need.

Ewes are making €2.65 to €2.80/kg, the chairman concluded.