Sheep trade: ‘Farmers should reject any factory quotes that are lower than €6.00/kg’

For the third week in a row, base quotes have increased for hoggets, with prices of up to €6.00/kg readily achievable.

This week, both Kepak Athleague and Kildare Chilling increased their base quotes by 15c/kg and 10c/kg respectively.

This, in turn, means that Kepak Athleague is offering a base quote of 565c/kg, with Kildare Chilling leading the way with a base quote of 580c/kg. Furthermore, Irish Country Meats is quoting 570c/kg for hoggets.

At the lower end of the scale, meat processing facilities are starting negotiations for hoggets at 570c/kg.

Farmers involved in producer groups are securing prices of up to between 600c/kg and 610c/kg (up to a carcass weight of between 22.5kg and 23kg).

At current market prices, farmers are securing between 580c/kg and 590c/kg including quality insurance (QA) bonuses.

Speaking to AgriLand, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) national sheep chairman, Sean Dennehy, said: “Hogget prices are continuing to rise, with most factories paying up to €6.00/kg – up to a 23kg carcase weight.

“The fact supplies are very tight – along with the difficult weather – has seen some plants paying up to €6.10/kg for hoggets.

I would encourage farmers to reject any factory quotes that are lower than €6.00/kg and insist on getting higher prices – which are widely available.

“Over in the UK, prices have also increased, with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) reporting a price increase of 26p/kg for the week ending February 15. The UK price hit £5.23/kg, which is equivalent to €6.48/kg.

“Furthermore, the mart trade is also very strong, with well-fleshed hoggets suitable for the butcher or wholesale trade making up to €140/head as of late.

“It is very important that farmers select their hoggets carefully. It is important to move hoggets as they become fit. Moreover, it is vital farmers select hoggets that are of the correct weight in order to avoid giving the factories any free meat.

“On the topic of prices, it is worth noting that prices for cull ewes have also increased up to €3.10/kg, with up to €3.20/kg readily achievable,” Dennehy concluded.

Quotes

This week, Kildare Chilling (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 580c/kg + 10c/kg QA – up 10c/kg on last week (payable up to a carcass weight of 23kg).

Kepak Athleague (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 565c/kg + 15c/kg – up 10c/kg on last week (payable up to a carcass of 22.5kg).

And, finally, Irish Country Meats (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 570c/kg + 10c/kg.

Overall, when the QA is factored in, this leaves quotes at 580-590c/kg.

In addition, cast ewes are making 300-310c/kg in sheep processing plants (payable up to a carcass of 40kg).

Hogget quotes:

  • Kepak Atleague: 565c/kg + 15c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 580c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Irish Country Meats: 570c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 300c/kg;
  • Kildare Chilling: 300c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Irish Country Meats: 300c/kg.

Throughput

During the week ending February 16, the number of hoggets processed decreased by 3,977 head and amounted to 39,725.

Cast (ewe and ram) supplies at the Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants stood at 6,221 – a decrease of 242 – for the week ending February 16.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending February 16):

  • Hoggets: 39,725 head (-3,977 or -9.1%);
  • Ewes and rams: 6,221 head (-242 or -3.3%);
  • Total: 45,946 head (-4,190 or -8.3%).

Furthermore, overall supplies decreased by 4,190 head during the week ending February 16.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending February 16):

  • Hoggets: 305,315 head (+37,010 or + 14%);
  • Ewes and rams: 49,100 head (-9,333 or -16%);
  • Total: 354,418 head (+27,679 or +8%).

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