Pressure eases on lamb prices in factories

Lamb quotes have increased this week with most processors offering a base price of 10c/kg higher than last week.

Kepak Athleague lead the way with a base price of 450c/kg, while the two Irish Country Meats’ plants and Kildare Chilling are offering 440c/kg.

This week’s increase represents a return to quotes offered in the corresponding week in October.

Meanwhile, some farmers have reported that they are being paid prices closer to 470-480c/kg this week, as many procurement managers are actively looking for stock after last week’s bank holiday weekend.

Lamb buyers have reported some fall off in lamb supplies in recent weeks, but some remain adamant that there will be no significant price increase in the coming weeks.

Looking at ewe prices, procurement managers are starting negotiations at 220c/kg for well-fleshed ewes, while other buyers are breaking the ice with farmers at 230c/kg.

Sheep supplies

While there has been a 10c/kg general rise in prices this week, supplies remained low for the week ending November 6.

Part of the reason for the fall off in throughput was the recent bank holiday weekend, while the low prices on offer have failed to encourage farmers to market lambs.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes

  • Lambs: -5,827 head or -12%
  • Ewes and Rams: -482 head or -5%
  • Total: -6357 head or -11%

Main Markets

The British sheep kill eased somewhat in recent weeks, which resulted in some recovery in deadweight prices. However, Bord Bia reports that a weaker Sterling is allowing UK sheepmeat to remain more competitive than Irish lamb.

There was some improvement in the demand for sheepmeat in the French market over the bank holiday weekend, it says, with Grade 1 Irish lamb making the equivalent of 494c/kg deadweight.

And, although Irish lamb remains in competition with a more competitively price UK lamb, Bord Bia hopes that the demand for legs of lamb will increase in the lead up to Christmas.