Lamb supplies tighten with a higher price paid for quality lambs

Lamb supplies are tighter this week, but factories are willing to pay a little extra for quality, according to IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey.

Prices are steady at €4.75/kg, while some deals of €4.80/kg and a little higher are also being paid, he said.

Processors are eager for lambs this week, but they are encountering problems with consistency in quality, Lynskey added.

A lot of heavier lambs have come on the market recently, with these lots receiving the lower end of the price scale, while the ideal factory lamb weighing between 18-22kg is getting a better price, he said.

Weather conditions were good and some farmers were hoping the price would increase so they held on to lambs that bit longer.

But the factories and farmers are working through this back log of heavy lambs and Lynskey expects the factory lamb trade to become more consistent in the near future.

With regards to ewes, farmers can expected to be paid anywhere from €2.50-2.70/kg depending on the ewe, he said.

Meanwhile, the IFA is set to meet with their French counterparts this week to discuss the prospects of Irish exports to France in 2017.

We have a meeting with our French counterparts, the Lacaune lamb has come on the market earlier than expected.

“The meeting should provide us with a good guideline of where we are at the moment,” he said.

Main Markets

Last week the sheep trade was reported to have eased last week on the back of stronger supplies and an ease in retail demand, according to Bord Bia.

The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €4.34/kg deadweight last week, figures show.

Colder weather has meant that the market in France remains slow which is negatively impacting consumption.

Looking at supply there is an abundance of Lacaune lambs in the south of the country while strong UK supplies are reported in the north of France, Bord Bia said.

Retail promotions were limited and focused on domestically produced legs of lamb. Grade 1 Irish lamb was making around €4.94/kg deadweight (incl VAT) last week.