The positivity around the sheep trade continues as processors move base quotes for lambs up a further 10c/kg on last week’s levels.

Therefore, at the moment, base prices for lambs are hovering between the €5.40/kg and €5.50/kg mark. Although, when quality assurance (QA) bonuses are factored in it is leaving prices around the €5.50-5.60/kg mark.

Kepak Athleague, Irish Country Meats (ICM) and Kildare Chilling increased their base quotes by 10c/kg since last week.

Going by reports from mart managers, factory agents are ‘very keen’ to secure finished stock, which is being reflected in the trade, as factory-fit lamb prices continue to see an upturn in fortunes.

Farmers involved in producer groups or that have large numbers on hand are reportedly securing returns of between €5.65/kg and €5.75/kg.

The fact that the Eid al-Adha festival is earlier this year seems to be helping the trade at present.

Processors claim that there is a ‘steady supply’ of lambs coming through and that there is a ‘good demand at the moment’.

Another positive is the increase in quotes for cast ewes. Base quotes for ewes have increased by 10-15c/kg in comparison to last week. At the moment, base prices for ewes are ranging between €2.60/kg and €2.70/kg. However, when QA bonuses are factored in it leaving prices of up to €2.80/kg achievable for ewes.


This week, Kildare Chilling (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 550c/kg +10c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

ICM (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 540c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

And finally, Kepak Athleague (Tuesday quote) is offering a base price of 545c/kg + 15c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

In terms of cast ewes, base quotes are ranging between 260c/kg and 270c/kg. When QA bonuses are taken into account it is leaving quotes – for ewes – around the 260-280c/kg mark.

 Lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 545c/kg + 15c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 550c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 540c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 265c/kg;
  • Kildare Chilling: 270c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 260c/kg.


For the fourth week in a row, the sheep kill has exceeded 60,000 head.

For the week ending July 5, the number of spring lambs processed increased marginally and amounted to 52,111 head.

Cast (ewe and ram) supplies at the Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants stood at 8,310 head – an increase of 527 head – for the week ending July 5.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (the week ending July 5):

  • Spring lambs: 52,111 head (+11 or +0.02%);
  • Hoggets: 515 head (-411 or -45%);
  • Ewes and rams: 8,310 head (+527 or +6.77%);
  • Total: 60,936 head (+115 head or +0.18%).

Moreover, overall supplies increased by 115 head during the week ending July 5 and amounted to 60,936 head.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 1,377,643 head, which is an increase of 68,071 head compared to the 2019 figure of 1,309,572 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (the week ending July 5):

  • Hoggets: 785,743 head (+37,165 or +5%);
  • Spring lambs: 420,389 head (+49,382 or +13%);
  • Ewes and rams: 171,470 head (-18,418 or -10%);
  • Total: 1,377,643 head (+68,071 or +5%).