Sheep trade: Hogget prices continue upward surge, as top prices hit €6.70/kg

Hogget prices continue to surge upwards, with prices of up to €6.70/kg being secured at the top end of the market.

A lot of hoggets, at the top end of the market, are being moved at the €6.50-6.60/kg mark, as factory appetite for supplies intensifies.

Factories have moved to increase base quotes from last week, with Kildare Chilling upping its base price for hoggets by 20c/kg from last week to €6.40/kg.

However, it’s Irish Country Meats (ICM) who is the biggest mover this week, increasing its base price by a substantial 30c/kg from this time last week to €6.30/kg.

Supplies remain tight and this is reflected in recent kill figures. For the week ending February 14, the number of sheep processed amounted to 41,697 head, which was up on the previous week, but is still well behind on the same period last year (-27,000 head).

Both sheep chairs of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) have said that tight supplies have led to the increase in hogget prices and that the demand at the moment is very strong.

Sean McNamara, the ICSA sheep chairperson, said that he was surprised but glad to see prices where they are at present.

“Supplies are very tight. Numbers are just not there and factories have had to increase prices to entice numbers forward,” he told AgriLand.

“This week, a number of sellers are securing deals of between €6.50/kg and €6.60/kg. To be honest, I thought once prices hit the €6.50/kg mark that it was where they would peak, but it’s positive to see that they have broken past that.

“In cases, there would be sellers negotiating prices higher than €6.60/kg.”

Hogget quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Kildare Chilling: 640c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 630c/kg + 10c/kg.

Cast ewe quotes:

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

Sheep kill

The sheep kill for the week ending February 14 totalled 41,697 head which is an increase of 3,124 head on the previous week.

The number of hoggets processed for the week ending February 14 amounted to 38,108, which is an increase of 4,449 head on the week before.

Meanwhile, the number of ewes and rams processed at meat processing plants came to 3,580 head last week, which is also back from the week before (-1,318 head).

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (the week ending February 14):

  • Lambs/hoggets: 38,108 head (+4,449 or +13.2%);
  • Ewes and rams: 4,898 head (-1,318 or -26.9%);
  • Total: 41,697 head (+3,124 or +8.09%).

Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 280,801 head, which is a decrease of 27,671 head compared to the 2020 figure of 308,472 head.

Data source: DAFM

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (the week ending February 14):

  • Lambs/hoggets: 246,914 head (-18,667 or -7%);
  • Ewes and rams: 33,865 head (-9,014 or -21%);
  • Total: 280,801 head (-27,671 or -9%).