Sheep trade: No change in base quotes offered

As we approach the Easter weekend, factory agents are currently offering 700-720c/kg for spring lambs. During the week ending March 18, the number of spring lambs slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat plants stood at just 358 – an increase of 344 head on the previous week.

Similar to last week, processors are currently offering 580-600c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance Scheme bonuses) for hoggets. Kildare Chilling is offering an all-in price of 610c/kg (600c/kg + 10c/kg Quality Assurance Scheme bonus).

Kepak Athleague is currently offering 590c/kg and a Quality Assurance Scheme bonus of 5c/kg. Irish Country Meats is quoting an all-in price of 590c/kg (580c/kg + 10c/kg Quality Assurance Scheme bonus).

It must be noted that finishers with larger numbers of sheep to market have been receiving prices above base quotes.

Hogget quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 600c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 590c/kg + 5c/kg QA;
  • ICM Camolin: 580c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM Navan: 580c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

In addition, factory agents are currently offering 300-310c/kg for well-fleshed ewes.

Supply update

Hogget throughput at Department of Agriculture approved plants stood at 49,606 for the week ending March 18. That’s an increase of 9,986 head or 25% on the week before and a 22% increase when compared to the corresponding period during 2017.

Cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings also increased by 3,099 head or 56% to reach 8,597 head. Furthermore, some 358 spring lambs were slaughtered during the week ending March 18.

In addition, overall supplies increased by 13,429 head or 30%. Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 551,452 head. This is an increase of 3.4% or 18,826 head compared to the same period in 2017.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending March 18):
  • Hoggets: 49,606 head (+3,683 head or +9.5%);
  • Spring lambs: 358 head (+344);
  • Ewes and rams: 8,597 head (+3,099 head or +9%);
  • Total: 58,561 head (+13,429 head or 9.5%).

Mart Trade

Kilkenny Mart

Larger numbers were reported at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Monday (March 26). However, according to the mart’s George Candler, some farmers were not as anxious as previous weeks.

Hoggets/lambs peaked at €135/head. Butcher hoggets sold for €2.20-2.70/kg or €125-135/head, while factory hoggets sold for €2.30-2.45/kg or €107-115/head.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 59kg: €130 or €2.20/kg;
  • 56kg: €132 or €2.36/kg;
  • 50kg: €135 or €2.70/kg;
  • 48kg: €112 or €2.33/kg;
  • 47kg: €113 or €2.40/kg;
  • 45kg: €110 or €2.44/kg.

In addition, cull ewes sold to a top-price of €140/head.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 47kg: €135 or €2.87/kg;
  • 43kg: €142 or €3.30/kg;
  • 41kg: €135 or €3.29/kg;
  • 39kg: €122 or €3.13/kg.

Raphoe Mart

An excellent trade in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal was reported by the mart’s manager, Anne Harkin. A large crowd attended the sale as farmers, factory agents and butchers competed for sheep.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 40kg: €147/head;
  • 45kg: €158/head;
  • 45kg: €168/head;
  • 50kg: €178/head;
  • 58kg: €178/head.

On the day, ewes with one lamb at foot sold for €150-200/unit, while ewes with two lambs at foot traded for €200-298/unit. Furthermore, fat ewes made €80-146/head.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 35-40kg: €90-110/head;
  • 40-46kg: €110-130/head;
  • 46-50kg: €120-130/head;
  • 50-62kg: €130-148/head.

Carnew Mart

A large sale took place in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow on Thursday last; some 2,580 sheep passed through the ring.

The first sale of spring lambs for the year took place at the Wexford-venue and an exceptional demand for these lots was reported. Quality spring lambs sold for €145-155/head.

There was also a strong demand for hoggets and cull ewes with prices matching last week’s levels.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 51kg: €155/head;
  • 42kg: €145/head;
  • 48kg: €150/head;
  • 41kg: €143/head;
  • 39kg: €141/head.

According to the mart manager, David Quinn, heavy cull ewes traded for €125-147/head, while lighter lots sold for €60-110/head. Furthermore, in-lamb ewes traded for €125-140/head and ewes with lambs at foot made €135-215/head.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 56kg: €147/head;
  • 54kg: €141.50/head;
  • 46kg: €128/head;
  • 42kg: €117/head;
  • 39kg: €103/head;
  • 37kg: €95/head.