Sheep trade: Forward momentum continues as deals for lambs top €5.80/kg

The sheep trade continues to gain forward momentum, with prices of €5.70/kg up to €5.80/kg being secured at the top end of the market for lambs.

Base quotes for lambs remain the same as last week for both Kildare Chilling and Irish Country Meats (ICM). Kildare Chilling continues to lead the way with a base price of €5.50/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assured (QA) bonus.

ICM also remains on a base price of €5.30/kg plus a 10c/kg QA bonus. Kepak Athleague was not quoting for lambs or ewes on Monday (December 7).

As mentioned already, deals for lambs at the top end of the scale are hitting €5.70-5.80/kg. There is a considerable difference in quotes being offered by factories and this is leaving those handling smaller numbers doing deals as low as €5.45-5.50/kg, while many sellers appear to be securing deals of €5.55-5.70/kg at the moment.

It is being reported that sellers are getting more leeway in terms of weights, with factories doing more deals for lambs up to a 22.5-23kg carcass weight in order to entice numbers forward.

The ewe trade at marts has seen an improvement of late and that is being reflected in prices being paid out by factories. ICM moved up its quote for ewes by 10c/kg to €2.70/kg. Kildare Chilling remains on €2.70/kg plus a 10c/kg QA bonus for ewes. It is being reported that deals of up to €2.80-3.00/kg are being achieved for ewes.

Lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Kildare Chilling: 550c/kg + 10c/kg QA – up to a 22kg carcass weight (Monday quote);
  • ICM: 530c/kg + 10c/kg QA – up to a 22kg carcass weight (Monday quote).

Cast ewe quotes:

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

Throughput

For the week ending November 29, the sheep kill amassed to 51,907 head; however, this is 12,775 head less than this time last year when the kill amassed to 64,682.

The number of lambs processed for the week ending November 29 totalled 43,285, while the number of ewes and rams processed at meat processing plants amounted to 8,193.

Lamb throughput is still ahead of 2019 levels, with 1,488,653 lambs processed to-date, whereas, last year, at the same stage, 1,425,611 lambs had been processed.

The ewe and ram kill, which has been the case for much of the year, is still behind on 2019, with 20,852 less processed in comparison to this stage in 2019.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (the week ending November 29):

  • Spring lambs: 43,285 head;
  • Ewes and rams: 8,193 head;
  • Total: 51,907 head.

Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 2,638,417 head, which is an increase of 81,107 head compared to the 2019 figure of 2,557,310 head.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (the week ending November 29):

  • Hoggets: 791,511 head (+39,424 or +5%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,488,653 head (+63,042 or +4%);
  • Ewes and rams: 358,189 head (-20,852 or -6%);
  • Total: 2,638,417 head (+81,107 or +3%).