Sheep trade: Farmers holding out for more

Farmers are encouraged to bargain hard when it comes to marketing their sheep. This comes as processors move to tighten their grip on the market.

Farmers in the best position to secure higher prices are those with quality assured animals and large numbers to market.

Procurement managers are starting negotiations with farmers at 500c/kg (excluding quality assurance (QA) and producer group bonuses) for hoggets.

When QA payments are factored in, this brings prices to 510-515c/kg, while factory agents are currently offering 260c/kg (excluding the Quality Assurance Scheme bonus) for well-fleshed ewes.

Kepak is quoting 500c/kg and 15c/kg QA, while both Irish Country Meats’ plants are paying 500c/kg and 10c/kg QA. Kildare Chilling had no quote when contacted yesterday afternoon.

Lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: 500c/kg + 15c/kg;
  • ICM Camolin: 500c/kg +10c/kg;
  • ICM Navan: 500c/kg +10c/kg.

The weekend saw a return to heavy rainfall in many areas; therefore, farmers are being encouraged to be mindful of the Clean Livestock Policy (CLP).

Also Read: Pics: Putting the Clean Livestock Policy for sheep under the spotlight


Some 38,739 head of sheep were processed in Department of Agriculture approved slaughtering plants during the week ending February 24.

This brings the total number of sheep slaughtered so far this year in Ireland to 365,489 head – a 43,026 head decrease on 2018 levels.

Hogget throughput stood at 32,579 head for the week ending February 24; that’s an increase of 813 head on the week before.

In addition, cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings amounted to 6,160 head – a jump of 901 head.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending February 24):
  • Hoggets: 32,579 head (+812 head or +2.5%);
  • Ewes and rams: 6,160 head (+901 head or +17%);
  • Total: 38,739 head (+1,713 head or +4.6%).

Mart trade

Raphoe Mart

A strong trade was reported for all sheep at Raphoe Mart, on Monday, March 4. Fat ewes sold from €60 to €139/head, while spring ewes sold for €140-158/head.

In addition, ewes with one lamb made €150-190/unit and ewes with two lambs sold for €200-258/unit.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 35-40kg: €80-95/head;
  • 40-45kg: €95-110/head;
  • 45-49kg: €110-120/head;
  • 50-55kg: €120-128/head.

Carnew Mart

Some 2,016 sheep went under the hammer at Carnew Mart on Thursday last, February 28. A strong trade was reported with a good demand for all classes of sheep.

Heavy hoggets sold to a top price of €126/head, with cull ewes selling to a top of €133/head.

Sample hogget prices:
  • Over 50kg: €122-126/head;
  • 45-49kg: €112-123/head;
  • 40-44kg: €103-117/head;
  • Under 40kg: €82-107/head.

Furthermore, cull ewes sold for €60-133/head and in-lamb ewes made €98-162/head. Ewes with double lambs sold for €185-258/unit; ewes with single lambs sold for €155-200/head.