Sheep marts: Spring lamb prices improve by €5-7/head

There has been a noticeable improvement in the spring lamb trade, with prices jumping by €5-7/head in some locations.

Much of this price rise can be attributed to an increase in demand due to the Muslim festival of Ramadan. The festival has already given the factory trade a boost and it appears to be having a similar impact in marts across the country.

Heavy spring lambs traded at €120-130/head in recent days, but prices have reached highs of €139/head or €2.96/kg in some venues.

In addition, despite a higher-than-usual kill, the hogget trade continues to remain in good health. Generally speaking, prices of €2.40-2.60/kg have been paid for well-fleshed hoggets in recent days.

Mart round-up

Carnew Mart

Thursday’s sale in Carnew Mart featured an entry of 1,415 sheep. A big improvement in spring lamb prices of €5-7/head was witnessed in the Co. Wicklow venue.

Spring lambs weighing 46-50kg sold for €124-130/head, lighter lots (40-45kg) made €114-125/head and the store types (33-35kg) on offer traded at €83-95/head.

There was also strong farmer demand for ewe hoggets with a top price of €130/head being paid.

Heavy hoggets (+50kg), destined for slaughter, sold for €115-120 and the hammer fell on the lighter lots (45-49kg) at €109-119/head.

Moving away from hoggets, ewes with twin lambs at foot sold for €150-240 and ewes with singles made €110-180.

Mountbellew Mart

There was a smaller number of hoggets on offer in Mountbellew Mart on Saturday. However, the lots brought forward for sale were well-fleshed stock.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 12 weathers: 53.5kg – €120/head or €2.24/kg.
  • 10 weathers: 46.5kg – €112.50/head or €2.40/kg.
  • 3 rams: 49kg – €117.50/head or €2.40/kg.
  • 7 ewes: 47kg – €117/head or €2.49/kg.
  • 15 ewes: 42kg – €108/head or €2.57/kg.
  • 10 ewes: 45.5kg – €110 or €2.42/kg.
  • 3 ewes: 53.5kg – €117 or €2.19/kg.

Store hoggets also met with a strong trade and prices of €88-106/head were achieved on the day.

Unlike the hoggets, there was a large number of cast ewes on offer. These lots sold for €85-126/head, while ewes with lambs at foot made €180-246.

Raphoe Mart

Moving to Co. Donegal, there was a good entry of spring lambs in Raphoe Mart on Monday. These sold to a top price of €139/head for lambs weighing 47kg.

Lambs weighing 43-50kg traded at €120-130/head, lighter lambs (40-42kg) made €110-120/head and the store types (37-39kg) sold for €100-110/head.

A number of breeding ewes also passed through the ring. Ewes with single lambs made €130-190, while ewes with twins sold for €180-265.

Factory price update

The majority of plants are continuing to work off last week’s base prices. These are generally 600-610c/kg (excluding QA payments) for spring lambs.

Kepak Athleague and Kildare Chilling lead the way with a base price of 610c/kg (excluding QA bonus), while the two Irish Country Meats plants are starting negotiations with farmers at 600c/kg.

Spring lamb quotes:
  • Kepak Athleague: 610c/kg + 5c QA (Tuesday’s price)
  • Kildare Chilling: 610c/kg + 5c QA
  • ICM Camolin: 600c/kg + 10c QA
  • ICM Navan: 600c/kg + 10c QA

Hogget prices have also remained relatively unchanged from last week, as the majority of processors are working off a base price of 500-525c/kg.

Hogget quotes:
  • Kepak Athleague: 525c/kg + 5c QA (Tuesday price)
  • Kildare Chilling: 510c/kg + 10c QA
  • ICM Camolin: 500c/kg + 10c QA
  • ICM Navan: 500c/kg + 10c QA