Lamb prices on the way up with base prices hitting 470c/kg

Lamb prices have improved this week, mainly driven by increased demand from the Muslim festival of  Eid-Ul-Adha, which takes place on September 11-12.

Most sheepmeat plants are now offering a base price of 470c/kg, up 10c/kg on last week, in order to secure adequate numbers.

The build-up to the Muslim festival of Eid-Ul-Adha is one of the busiest periods at Irish sheepmeat factories, as official figures show that throughput jumps by 12-23%.

Sheep factory prices:
  • Kepak Athleague: 470c/kg
  • ICM Camolin: 470c/kg
  • ICM Navan: 470c/kg
  • Kildare Chilling: 470c/kg

And the trend appears to be continuing this year with figures from the Department of Agriculture’s sheep kill database showing that sheep slaughterings jumped by 7.3% or 3,907 head during the week ending August 28 compared to the week before.

Throughputs of ewes and rams and spring lambs made up the majority of this increase, up by 27.6% (+2,316 head) and +3.6% (+1,632 head) respectively.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: -72 head (-55%)
  • Spring lambs: +1,632 head (+3.6%)
  • Ewes and rams: +2,316 head (+27.6%)
  • Total: +3,907 head (+7.3%)

Despite the increased demand for spring lambs, some factories have been slow to offer quotes for cast ewes this week.

Kepak Athleague was the only processor willing to give a price for cast ewes of 250c/kg, while the Irish Country Meats and Kildare Chilling plants are not quoting for ewes this week.

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, British lamb prices eased last week due to some recovery in supply. The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales made the equivalent of around 468c/kg last week.

Looking at France, Bord Bia reports that have been plentiful supplies of competitively price UK lamb on the market, but activity has been lower than expected.

Bord Bia hopes that demand will rise in line with the Muslim festival of Eid-Ul-Adha, as extensive retail promotions are focusing mainly on fresh and frozen imported and domestically produced sheepmeat.