Lamb prices ‘push on amid tight supplies and strong demand’

Lamb prices have “pushed on this week, driven by tight supplies and strong market demand”, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Commenting, IFA National Sheep Committee chairman Sean Dennehy said supermarket lamb sales have performed strongly throughout the Covid-19 controls, with volumes and prices up.

This trend is expected to continue as the restrictions continue, he added.

The chairman noted that lambs are freely making €6.10/kg, with deals to €6.25/kg available at this stage of the week. Weights to 23kg are also available.

Dennehy said farmers should continue to sell lambs as they become fit, but to sell hard and maximise returns – with up to 15c/kg of a difference in prices offered by factories.

Cull ewes are making €3-3.10/kg, he added.

Dennehy said the “strong kill of lambs in 2020, in particularly in the later weeks of the year, will impact on supplies of factory lambs that are available”.

As noted earlier today (Friday, January 8), in total 2,884,480 sheep were processed in 2020, which is 74,519 head more than the 2019 figure of 2,809,961.

The number of spring lambs slaughtered at Irish meat processing plants in 2020 stood at 1,704,741 which was a substantial increase of 56,940 on 2019.

“Combined with the strong market performance of lamb, this must be reflected in prices to farmers,” the chairman concluded.