The sheep trade has picked up where it let off in 2020, with reported top prices of €6.00-6.10/kg available for lambs currently.

Despite the well-documented disruption of travel between the UK and mainland Europe causing headaches for processors and hauliers over the past fortnight, prices for lambs remain strong, with factories’ appetite for lambs holding firm.

Factories this week are slow to quote, with only Kildare Chilling showing its cards with a base price of €5.70/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus for lambs.

Both Kepak Athleague and Irish Country Meats (ICM) were not quoting for today, (Tuesday, January 5), with a spokesperson for the latter saying that “shipping is a big problem at the moment and that the whole thing is in a mess, with kills this week likely to be small”.

Deals of between €5.80/kg up to €5.95/kg are being mainly reported at the top end of the market, with some securing deals as high as €6.00/kg and north of this.

However, on the other hand, the sheep chairperson of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Sean Dennehy said that the trade is strong currently, with prices of €6.00-6.10/kg freely available for lambs.

He added: “The sheep trade has picked up where it let off in 2020 with prices for lambs up considerably. €6.20/kg has been secured for larger lots; however, I know of many who have been able to get €6.00-6.10/kg for lambs quite freely.

“More are securing deals for lambs up to 23kg as well. The cull ewe trade is also strong with top prices of €3.00-3.10/kg being achieved.”

Lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Kildare Chilling: 570c/kg + 10c/kg QA – up to a 22kg carcass weight (Monday quote);
  • ICM: No quote.

Cast ewe quotes:

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