Sheep trade: ‘Deals of €6.45/kg and more, in cases, being secured’

The recent recovery in sheep prices continues, with deals of €6.45/kg and more in cases being secured for larger batches of hoggets.

The general run of prices continues to be around the €6.30-6.40/kg mark, although it seems some sellers, especially, those handling large numbers, are achieving prices of up to €6.45/kg.

Factory base prices have also lifted. Kildare Chilling is on a base price of €6.20/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus. Irish Country Meats (ICM) is on a base price of €6.00 plus a 10c/kg QA assurance bonus. Kepak Athleague wasn’t quoting but it is believed that the western-based plant is very much in that ballpark region, in terms of base price, like the other meat processing plants.

Supplies of finished hoggets remain tight, with many mart managers noting sales are small and that the number of finished hoggets coming on stream is getting tighter.

The sheep kill for the week ending February 7 amassed to 38,573 head which was over 5,000 less than the previous week and in comparison to the same stage last year, the kill was back nearly 20,000 head.

The cull ewe trade has eased recently with factories now on a base price of €2.70/kg. At the top end of the market, deals of €3.00/kg are being secured and in some cases higher.

Speaking on the trade currently, the sheep chairperson of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), Sean Dennehy, said that factories are anxious for stock and that supplies are tight.

He added: “Prices are edging up to where they were a few weeks ago. Supplies are tight and factories are anxious to get a hold of numbers.

“Some sellers are securing deals of up to €6.45/kg and even a bit more in cases; however, the majority of hoggets at the top end of the market are moving at prices between €6.30/kg up to €6.40/kg.

“The trade is strong so it’s important farmers move stock on as they become fit and take advantage of the lift in the trade.”

Lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Kildare Chilling: 620c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 600c/kg + 10c/kg.

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Kildare Chilling: 270c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 270c/kg.