More green shoots of recovery for spring lamb prices

Like last week, the spring lamb market continues to show some green shoots of recovery. Last week, Kepak Athleague moved to a base price of 465c/kg +5c/kg Quality Assurance (QA) bonus and it continues with this offering this week.

Meanwhile, another processor – Kildare Chilling – has also opted to raise its base quote and is now starting negotiations with farmers at 465c/kg +10c/kg QA.

However, the two Irish Country Meats’ sister plants – located in Navan and Camolin – have held base quotes at 450c/kg +10c/kg QA.

In addition, the ewe market continues to remain almost stagnant, with buyers offering 240-250c/kg to secure suitable lots this week.


Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that some 67,331 sheep were processed in approved sheepmeat export plants during the week ending October 14 – a drop of 332 head or 0.5% on the previous week.

A 2,381 head fall in cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings was mainly responsible for this decline, but spring lamb numbers were up on the previous week.

In total, some 56,938 spring lambs were processed in export approved plants during the week ending October 14 – a climb of 2,027 head or 3.7%.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 94 head (+21 head or +28.8%);
  • Spring lambs: 56,938 head (+2,027 head or +3.7%);
  • Ewes and rams: 10,297 head (-2,381 head or +18.8%);
  • Total: 67,331 head (-332 head or 0.5%).

Cumulative supplies

Moving to the cumulative sheep kill for 2018, official figures show that just over 2.3 million sheep have been processed in Irish plants between January 1 and October 14. When compared to the corresponding period in 2017, that’s a climb of 57,392 head or 3%.

A rise in hogget and cast throughput accounts for the majority of this climb, while spring lamb numbers are running 16,457 head or 1% behind the same period in 2017.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 828,969 head (+22,127 head or +3%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,103,558 head (-16,457 head or -1%);
  • Ewes and rams: 397,002 head (+52,603 head or +15%);
  • Total: 2,329,670 head (+57,392 head or +3%).