Over the last number of weeks, the number of sheep slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved plants has tightened considerably.

However, the week ending November 12 saw some 66,638 sheep slaughtered in approved plants. That’s an increase of 12,665 head or 23.4% when compared to the week before.

In addition, the cumulative sheep kill for the year is currently operating at 10% ahead of 2016 levels.

This week processors are currently offering 470-485c/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 480c/kg (470c/kg + 10c/kg Quality Assurance Scheme bonus).

Spring lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 480c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 485c/kg + 5c/kg QA;
  • ICM Camolin: 470c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM Navan: 470c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Factory agents are currently offering 250-260c/kg for well-fleshed ewes.

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, there has been an uplift in the British sheep trade; both throughputs and prices have risen.

Looking at prices, the SQQ (standard quality quotation) live price for lamb in England and Wales made the equivalent of 416c/kg last week.

Looking at net production, overall sheepmeat output increased in October compared to the previous month. However, production was 5% behind October 2016 levels, while cumulative output for the year to October is on a par with 2016 figures.

In France, Bord Bia says, the market remained steady with demand being helped by colder weather. The trade was particularly good for shoulders and legs. Demand is expected to remain relatively good in the lead up to Christmas. In addition, there were limited retail promotions taking place last week on imported legs.

Mart trade round up

Carnew Mart

A ‘large’ sale took place on Thursday (November 16) at Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, with 3,820 sheep going under the hammer. A mart spokesperson noted that there was a “improved trade for all classes”.

Butcher and factory lambs were up by €3-5/head.

Lambs weighing over 50kg made €104-111/head, while lambs weighing 45-49kg sold for €95-109/head. Lambs weighing 40-44kg traded at €86-98/head. In addition, lambs weighing under 35 kg sold for €62-91/head.

Lots of cull ewes traded for €45 and €105/head. On the day, breeding ewes cleared at €85-128/head.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 55kg – €108.50 or €1.97/kg;
  • 49kg – €109 or €2.22/kg;
  • 47kg – €105 or €2.23/kg;
  • 42kg – €90.50 or €2.15/kg;
  • 36kg – €83 or €2.30;
  • 32kg – €87 or €2.71/kg.

Mountbellew Mart

Last Saturday (November 18) saw a large number of sheep go under the hammer at Mountbellew Mart, Co. Galway.

The mart’s spokesperson said that stag ewes proved popular with a “good demand” for the heavier lots.

There were a large number of lambs on offer and there was good demand for quality fleshy-types.

On the day, two ram lambs weighing 50.2kg sold for €100, while lots of ewe lambs traded at €90-96/head.

Sample wether lamb prices:
  • 48.4kg – €97 or €2.00/kg;
  • 40kg – €84 or €2.10/kg;
  • 49kg – €100 or €2.04/kg;
  • 34kg – €72 or €2.11/kg.

Cast ewes met a similar trade to the previous week. A strong trade remained for heavier ewes with prices sitting at €70-102/head. Breeding ewes and ewe hoggets met a brisk trade last Saturday. Hogget ewes achieved prices of up to €145/head.

Raphoe Mart

Monday’s sheep sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, featured a good entry of sheep, according to the mart’s manager Anne Harkin.

Quality stock, she added, met an excellent trade and prices of €100-115/head were obtained for lambs weighing 47-58kg.

Lighter store lambs (32-36kg) traded at €60-70/head, lambs weighing 34-38kg sold for €80-88/head and forward stores (42-46kg) made €94-100/head.

In addition, a number of dry ewes passed through the ring of the Donegal-based venue. For the most part, these lots sold for €60-100/head each.