Sheep trade: Factories increase quotes to secure lambs

Again, for another week, most factory agents have increased their quotes for lambs by 5-10c/kg. Irish Country Meats (ICM) have also increased the maximum carcass weight specification for lambs to 22.5kg.

Therefore, top-weight lambs are now securing returns to the farmer of €110/head – including Quality Assurance (QA) bonuses.

This week, ICM is offering a base price for lambs of 480c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to 22.5kg carcass). This is an increase of 5c/kg compared to last week.

Kildare Chilling increased its base price by 10c/kg compared to last week and is now offering a base of 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to 22kg carcass).

Kepak Athleague is offering a base price for lambs of 480c/kg + 5c/kg QA (payable up to 22kg carcass); this is unchanged compared to last week.

Lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 480c/kg + 5c/kg QA;
  • ICM Camolin: 480c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM Navan: 480c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

For ewes, most factories are quoting 260c/kg excluding QA bonuses.

Supplies

Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that some 63,205 sheep were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants during the week ending November 25 – a decrease of 2,457 head or 3.7% on the week before.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

The number of lambs slaughtered decreased by 2,070 head or 3.8% compared to the previous week. In addition, cast ewe and ram slaughterings decreased slightly by 361 head or 3% on the week before.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 70 head (-9 head or -11%);
  • Lambs: 51,831 head (-2,457 head or -3.8%);
  • Ewes and rams: 11,300 head (-361 head or -3%);
  • Total: 63,205 head (-2,457 head or -3.7%).

Official figures also show that almost 2.71 million sheep have been slaughtered up to and including the week ending November 25.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 829,545 head (+22,213 head or +2.7%);
  • Lambs: 1,421,477 head (-9,199 head or <1%);
  • Ewes and rams: 461,578 head (+57,834 head or +14%);
  • Total: 2,712,775 head (+69,745 head or +2.6%).

Sheep marts

Raphoe Mart

There was a good entry of sheep at Raphoe Mart last Monday (November 26), with an excellent trade reported for all stock on offer. It was noted that there was a strong demand for slaughter-ready lambs with a top price of €114 paid on the day.

In addition, store lambs continued to be a good trade and fetched €65-€85/head for lighter lots, while €85-€105/head was paid for more forward-type stock. Cull ewes made €60-€125/head.

Lambs sold at:
  • <35kg – €65-75/head;
  • >35kg – €75-85/head;
  • 38-44kg – €85-95/head;
  • 44-50kg – €95-105/head;
  • 50-60kg – €105-114/head.

Ballinrobe Mart

On Wednesday last – November 28 – there were good numbers of sheep reportedly presented for sale at Ballinrobe Mart. It was noted that the trade was a little firmer for all types of stock.

Ewe lambs fetched from €87/head to €110/head, while fat ewes made from €66/head to €94/head. Furthermore, buyers of store lambs paid from €66/head to €90/head.

Carnew Mart

There were fewer entries presented for sale at Carnew Mart on Thursday last (November 29), with some 1,620 sheep reportedly on offer.

It was noted that there was a significant increase in the prices paid, with all stock classes achieving an extra €4-5/head. Heavy lambs achieved a top price of €118/head and cull ewes commanded a price of €45-€118/head.

Lambs sold at:
  • <35kg – €70-85/head;
  • >35kg – €70-85/head;
  • 40-44kg – €92-111/head;
  • 45-49kg – €104-116.50/head;
  • >50kg – €114-118/head.

Kilkenny Mart

There were some 420 sheep presented for sale at Kilkenny Mart yesterday (December 3). It was reported by George Candler – the mart’s auctioneer – that trade was excellent for all types of stock resulting in a 100% clearance.

It was noted that a top price of €120/head was paid for butcher-type lambs, while cull ewes peaked at €120/head.

On the day, store lambs weighing from 36kg to 40kg sold for €88-95/head or €2.25-2.57/kg. In addition, factory-fit lambs made from €100-108/head or €2.20-2.36/kg.

Sample prices:
  • 36kg – €90/head or €2.50/kg;
  • 38kg – €92/head or €2.42/kg;
  • 40kg – €93/head or €2.33/kg;
  • 44kg – €104/head or €2.36/kg;
  • 50kg – €111/head or €2.22/kg;
  • 56kg – €120/head or €2.14/kg.