Sheep marts: Factory cuts not helping the trade

The spring lamb trade continues to remain under pressure in factories and lamb buyers have moved to impose further cuts this week.

As it stands, procurement managers are starting negotiations with farmers at a base price of 480-490c/kg and, with this, some confidence has left the market at the ringside.

Mart managers have noted that factory lamb prices have dipped by €2-5/head over recent days, while the store lamb trade continues to remain slower than normal.

Poor grass growth is contributing to this slower trade; annual buyers, who make their presence felt at the ringside, have been present in smaller numbers so far.

In addition, the ewe trade is under some degree of pressure. Additional supplies, on the back of farmers weaning ewes, has seen prices decrease in many venues.

Kilkenny Mart

Some 700 sheep were offered at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Monday. Although there were bigger numbers present, a tougher trade was reported all round.

George Candler, the mart auctioneer, noted that lambs weighing >50kg were most in demand, but they were in short supply.

“Store lambs are increasing in numbers, but the grass shortage also means that potential buyers are in short supply,” he said.

On the day, butcher lambs sold for €2.10-2.29/kg, factory lambs made €2.08-2.23/kg and store lambs sold for €1.80-1.97/kg.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 54kg: €122 or €2.26/kg;
  • 52kg: €119 or €2.16/kg;
  • 49kg: €105 or €2.14/kg;
  • 46kg: €99 or €2.15/kg;
  • 41kg: €76 or €1.85/kg;
  • 39kg: €70 or €1.79/kg.

Candler also noted that cull ewes reduced in price and the €100/head mark was only breached on a few occasions.

Mountbellew Mart

Last Saturday’s sale in Mountbellew Mart featured a constant number of sheep and lambs met with a similar trade to the previous week.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 45kg: €96 or €2.13/kg;
  • 42.3kg: €93 or €2.20/kg;
  • 38.8kg: €86 or €2.22/kg;
  • 41.5kg: €90 or €2.17/kg;
  • 37.2kg: €83 or €2.23/kg;
  • 51.5kg: €105 or €2.04/kg.

On the day, store lamb prices ranged from €70 up to €80 and cast ewes traded for €76-123/head.

Carnew Mart

Some 1,820 sheep were on offer at Carnew Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Thursday last and lamb returns were said to have eased by €2-4/head. However, store lambs met firm demand.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 45-50kg: €96-108/head;
  • 40-44kg: €83-98/head;
  • 35-39kg: €72-91/head;
  • 30-34kg: €65-86/head.

A reduction in prices was also witnessed in the cull ring and returns of €85 to 110 were recorded for heavy cull ewes, light cull ewes made €45-80 and the three and four-year-old breeding ewes on offer sold for €90-120.

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