Lamb quotes come under increased pressure

Lamb quotes have come under increased pressure, with most factories opting to drop the price offered to farmers this week.

The majority of lamb buyers are offering a base price of 430c/kg for lambs this weeks, a drop of 10c/kg on last week.

Difficult trading conditions, both in the UK and France, combined with a weaker Sterling have been blamed for this week’s price drop.

This week’s drop comes on the back of some stabilisation in the market last week, with prices remained unchanged from the week before.

But throughout the month of October, factory lamb prices have come under increased pressure with prices falling 30c/kg since the beginning of the month. On a 21kg carcass, this is a price drop of €6.30.

Meanwhile, ewe prices have remained pretty much on changed from last week, with most buyers offering 220-230c/kg for cast ewes.

Lower prices hitting supplies

The continuation of lower factory prices appear to have had a negative impact on the number of lambs brought forward for slaughter during the week ending October 23.

Prices of 440-445c/kg seem to have have hit home, and as a result farmers appear to have reduced the number of lambs being marketed.

Official figures from the Department of Agriculture’s sheep kill database show that the lamb kill for the week ending October 23 fell by 2.5% on the week before, bringing the total lamb slaughter for the week to 47,280 head.

It also shows that ewe and ram slaughterings declined last week, with throughput falling by 1,212 head or 10% on the week before.

Given the fall in lamb and cast throughput, the total number of sheep slaughterings also dropped by 3.9% or 2,345 head week-on-week.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Lambs: -1,222 head or -2.5%
  • Ewes: -1212 head or -10%
  • Total: -2345 head or -3.9%

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, there has been some ease in the British sheep trade on the back of lower demand. However, the weakening of Sterling continues to make UK lamb exports more competitive, it says.

The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales made the equivalent of €4.20/kg deadweight during the week ending October 23.

Meanwhile, Bord Bia also reports that there has been little change in the demand for sheepmeat in France, as strong supplies of competitively priced lamb were evident on the market last week.

Retail promotions focused mainly on imported and domestically produced sheepmeat, it says, including chops, legs, shoulders and forequarters.