‘Deals of up to €8.00/kg are freely available’ for spring lambs, as tight supplies along with a strong demand, curtail factory efforts to paint a different picture of the current sheep trade.

The trade strengthened last week and it looks to have carried into this week, with deals of €8.00/kg and apparently achievable.

The mart trade during the latter part of last week, right up to yesterday, was strong for all types of finished stock as numbers remain low.

The most recent sheep kill figures released by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) continue to tell the story of how tight supplies are, as hogget numbers continue to get smaller, while spring lamb supplies have yet to make up for the loss in numbers seen for hoggets.

Looking at the quotes on offer, Kildare Chilling was the only factory quoting with a base price of €7.80c/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus for spring lambs.

Irish Country Meats (ICM) and Kepak Athleague were not quoting when contacted.

Where is this leaving prices? Well, despite factories trying to keep prices under wraps, it is reported that prices have increased from last week and accordingly, so have weights.

Prices of €8.00/kg are reported as being “freely available”, with deals up to €8.30/kg reportedly being secured for spring lambs.

Hogget prices are also strong with recent prices hitting highs of €7.30/kg up to €7.50/kg.

The ewe trade is relatively unchanged with prices ranging from €3.20/kg up to €3.55/kg.

IFA on the current sheep trade

Speaking about the sheep trade at present, Sean Dennehy, the sheep chairperson of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) said: “Demand for lamb is outweighing supplies and factories are paying well above quoted prices in order to secure supply.

“€8.00/kg is freely available throughout the country to 21kg for spring lambs. While higher deals are available on price, up to €8.30/kg, and on weight to 21.5kg.

“Hoggets are generally moving at €7.50/kg, with cull ewes from €3.30/kg to €3.55/kg.

“At marts, factory agents and wholesalers are very active, so farmers marketing stock have a real competitive alternative in marts if factories aren’t prepared to pay up,” Sean concluded.

  • Kildare Chilling: 780c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.
  • Kildare Chilling: 710c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.
  • Kildare Chilling: 320c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.