Lamb trade: Deals being done at 520c/kg

The factory/farmer sheep price stalemate has continued from last week. Farmers are ‘sticking to their guns’ when it comes to marketing their stock.

The ball is still in the farmers’ court as they are digging out 10-15c/kg above what is being officially quoted by processors. In addition, some larger finishers have secured prices of 520c/kg towards the end of last week and into this week.

This week, processors are currently offering 475-485c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance Scheme bonuses) for spring lambs. Kildare Chilling leads the way with an all-in price of 490c/kg (480c/kg + 10c/kg Quality Assurance Scheme bonus).

Kepak Athleague is currently offering 485c/kg and a Quality Assurance Scheme bonus of 5c/kg. Irish Country Meats is quoting an all-in price of 485c/kg (475c/kg + 10c/kg Quality Assurance Scheme bonus).

Spring lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 485c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 485c/kg + 5c/kg QA;
  • ICM Camolin: 475c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM Navan: 475c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Factory agents are currently offering 260-285c/kg for well-fleshed ewes.

Supply update

Lamb throughputs at Department of Agriculture approved plants stood at 56,071 for the week ending November 26.

That’s an increase of 760 head or 1.3% on the week before and a 16% increase when compared to the corresponding period during 2016.

However, overall supplies decreased by 217 head or 0.33%. Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 2.64 million head. This is an increase of 10% or 242,000 head compared to the same period in 2016.

Supplies of hoggets are up 18% to date, while cull ewes and rams are up 13%. So far this year, lamb throughputs have increased by 5% when compared to the same period last year.

Graph source: Department of Agriculture

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, the British trade remained relatively steady last week, with little change in supplies. In terms of prices, the SQQ (Standard Quality Quotation) live price for lamb in England and Wales was 453c/kg towards the end of the week.

Moving to France, Bord Bia says, the market was relatively balanced with throughputs sufficient to meet current demand levels. The trade was best for shoulders and legs; this is likely to continue up until Christmas.

However, demand for loins eased. There were strong supplies of imported lamb on the market, with limited retail promotions taking place.

In addition, grade one Irish lamb prices were making 515c/kg deadweight (including VAT) last week.

Mart trade round up

Raphoe Mart

Monday’s ‘Christmas Show and Sale’ in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a good entry of sheep, according to the mart’s manager Anne Harkin.

Show lambs, she she, sold for €115-175/head. These lambs weighed 47-58kg.

Lighter store lambs (29-36kg) traded at €6-75/head, lambs weighing 36-41kg sold for €75-85/head and forward stores (40-45kg) made €85-95/head.

In addition, a number of fat ewes passed through the ring of the Donegal-based venue. For the most part, these lots sold for €60-126/head each.

Carnew Mart

A “large” sale took place on Saturday (November 30) at Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, with 3,172 sheep going under the hammer.

A mart spokesperson noted that there was a “strong trade for all classes with a top price of €117/head paid for lambs weighing 56kg”.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 57kg – €116 or €2.03/kg;
  • 52kg – €113 or €2.17/kg;
  • 47kg – €107 or €2.27/kg;
  • 37kg – €90 or €2.43/kg;
  • 35kg – €84.50 or €2.41/kg;
  • 27kg – €62 or €2.29/kg.

Lambs weighing over 50kg made €105-117/head, while lambs weighing 45-49kg sold for €97-112/head. Lambs weighing 40-44kg traded at €87-98/head.

In addition, lambs weighing under 35kg sold for €62-84/head. A number of cull ewes were on offer and the prices achieved for these stood at €45-121/head.