Sheep trade: ‘As you were’ for base quotes

The sheep trade remains steady at the moment, with base quotes for spring lambs unchanged from this time last week.

Base prices for lambs are ranging from €4.90/kg up to €5.10/kg. Out in front is Kildare Chilling again with a base price of €5.10/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus.

Back on the table this week, after a long absence, is Kepak Athleague, which is offering a base price of €4.95/kg plus a 15c/kg QA bonus for spring lambs.

Lastly, Irish Country Meats (ICM) remains on a base price of €4.90/kg plus a 10c/kg QA bonus for spring lambs.

Sellers at the lower end of the scale have reportedly been doing deals of between €5.10-5.20/kg, while those handling large numbers or those in producer groups have been able to achieve 5c/kg more and, in some cases, 10c/kg more – reportedly.

Factory agents have been very active across marts over the past week, as the number of factory-finished lambs remains tight.

Quotes for ewes remain unchanged at €2.50/kg. Top prices of €2.60-2.80/kg are being reported.

Lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 495c/kg + 15c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • Kildare Chilling: 510c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • ICM: 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote).

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 250c/kg (Monday quote);
  • Kildare Chilling: 250c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • ICM: 250c/kg (Monday quote).

Throughput

For the week ending October 4, the sheep kill amassed to 62,748 head, which is an increase of over 1,500 head from the week before.

The number of spring lambs processed increased by 1,724 head and amounted to 51,749 head, for the week ending October 4. To date this year, 10% or 97,276 more lambs have been killed in comparison to the same period in 2019.

Cast (ewe and ram) supplies at the Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants stood at 10,840 head – a decrease of 128 head – for the week ending October 4.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (the week ending October 4):

  • Spring lambs: 51,749 head (+1,724 or +3.44%);
  • Ewes and rams: 10,840 head (-128 or -1.16%);
  • Total: 62,748 head (+1,542 or +2.51%).

Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 2,183,480 head, which is an increase of 120,217 head compared to the 2019 figure of 2,063,263 head.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (the week ending October 4):

  • Hoggets: 788,548 head (+37,155 or +5%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,106,438 head (+97,276 or +10%);
  • Ewes and rams: 288,439 head (-13,883 or -5%);
  • Total: 2,183,480 head (+120,217 or +6%).