Sheep trade: Factories act on lowering lamb quotes

The recent rise in lamb quotes has ceased with processors moving to take a hold of the market. However, farmers are encouraged to bargain hard when it comes to marketing their animals.

This week, many procurement managers are starting negotiations with farmers at 520c/kg (excluding quality assurance (QA) and producer group bonuses) for lambs.

When QA payments are factored in, this brings prices to 530-535c/kg, while factory agents are currently offering 260-270c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance Scheme bonus) for well-fleshed ewes.

Also Read: Sheep trade: ‘There isn’t as many lambs out there as other years’


Lamb throughput at Department of Agriculture approved plants stood at 35,353 for the week ending February 10; that’s a decrease of 61 head on the week before.

Cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings fell by 1,981 head to reach 6,639 head.

Moreover, overall supplies decreased by 2,043 head – amounting to 41,992 head. Cumulative figures for the year-to-date have reached 289,723 head. This is an increase of 41,991 head compared to the same period in 2018.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending February 10):
  • Lambs: 35,353 head (-61 head or -0.1%);
  • Ewes and rams: 6,639 head (-1,981 head or -22%);
  • Total: 41,992 head (-2,043 head or -4.6%).

Mart trade

Tullow Mart

Over 1,400 hoggets were on offer at Tullow Mart last Tuesday (February 12). Heavy hoggets (>53kg) sold from €128/head to €134/head, while the majority sold for between €129/head and €131/head.

Lighter, store-fleshed hoggets sold from a base of €80/head, while hoggets between 37kg and 42kg sold from €98/head; 44-45kg hoggets sold up to a price of €115/head.

Cast ewes were reported to be €1-2/head easier than the previous week’s sale.

Roscommon Mart

Finished lambs sold for a top price of €126/head – weighing 57.1kg – at Roscommon Mart last Wednesday (February 13).

Cast ewes ranged in price from €30/head to €110/head. Some sample prices from Roscommon Mart are detailed below.

Sample finished lamb prices:
  • 57.1kg – €126;
  • 50.8kg – €125;
  • 55.7kg – €125;
  • 50.8kg – €120;
  • 50kg – €120;
  • 49.5kg – €118;
  • 48.6kg – €118;
  • 46.4kg – €113;
  • 45.7kg – €110.

Top ewes prices with lambs a foot:
  • Ewe with two lambs at foot – €218;
  • Ewe with single lamb at foot – €185.

Kilkenny Mart

A smaller number of sheep went under the hammer at Kilkenny Mart on Monday last, February 18. The prices were reported to be back €4-7/head on the previous week’s sale.

Butcher lambs were reported to sell for €110-127/head or €2.15-2.35/kg and factory lambs sold for €100-113/head or €2.20-2.55/kg; store lambs made €78-99/head or €2.30-2.65/kg.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 58kg: €126 or €2.18/kg;
  • 53kg: €118 or €2.23/kg;
  • 49kg: €113 or €2.31/kg;
  • 46kg: €106 or €2.30/kg;
  • 42kg: €99 or €2.36/kg;
  • 40kg: €96 or €2.40/kg;
  • 36kg: €89 or €2.47/kg.

In addition, cast ewes sold to a top price of €70-110/head.