Quotes remain unchanged as spring lamb supplies gather pace

The Muslim festival of Ramadan gets underway today, May 15, and instead of giving the market a major lift, it’s rather helping to keep a floor under Irish prices.

When it comes to trading, factory buyers have opted to maintain quotes at last week’s levels again this week. Buyers are starting negotiations with farmers at 600c/kg for hoggets, 690-700c/kg for spring lambs and 300c/kg for ewes.

However, deals are being struck at higher prices and some farmers are achieving returns of 620-630c/kg when it comes to hoggets and 320-330c/kg for well-fleshed cast ewes.

Looking at supplies, the weekly spring lamb kill broke the 10,000-head barrier for the first time this year during the week ending May 6; a notable increase of 6,994 head was recorded in Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat export plants.

However, hogget supplies appear to be declining radially and 8,027 fewer were slaughtered during the week ending May 6 than the previous week to bring the weekly kill to 28,901 head.

Meanwhile, cast (ewe and ram) throughput posted an increase of 9.4% or 914 head to bring the weekly cast kill to 10,618 head.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 28,901 head (-8,027 head or -21.7%);
  • Spring lambs: 10,934 head (+6,994 head or +177.5%);
  • Ewes and rams: 10,618 head (+914 head or +9.4%);
  • Total: 50,458 head (-124 head or -0.2%).

Looking at the cumulative sheep kill, some 907,000 sheep were presented for slaughter in Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat export plants between January 1 and May 6.

Hoggets accounted for the largest proportion of this kill at 736,736 head, while spring lamb slaughterings stood at 23,641 head.

Noticeable throughput increases where witnessed in the ewe and ram category and supplies are currently running 27,206 head or 23% ahead of the corresponding period in 2017.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 736,736 head (+6,215 head or +1%);
  • Spring lambs: 23,641 head (-12,146 head or -34%);
  • Ewes and rams: 146,550 head (+27,206 head or +23%);
  • Total: 907,000 head (+20,690 head or +2%).