Hogget prices are once again on the move, with prices now hitting highs of €7.20/kg at the top end of the market.
Looking back to a few weeks ago, many thought €6.50/kg would be as good as it got for hoggets, after prices eased back for a while, but that is now a distant memory.
Prices at the start of last week hit the €7.00/kg mark and towards the end of the week prices started to move upwards again, with many securing prices of €7.10-7.15/kg and in some instances up to €7.20/kg.
Looking at the quotes on offer, Kildare Chilling has moved once again to increase its base price for hoggets by 20c/kg up to €6.90/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assured (QA) bonus.
Irish Country Meats (ICM) has also moved to increase its base price for hoggets to €6.70/kg plus a 10c/kg QA bonus. Kepak Athleague was again off the table this week.
Factories have also shown their hand for spring lambs, with both Kildare Chilling and ICM offering €7.00/kg plus a 10c/kg QA bonus.
The cull ewe trade is also on the rise, with factories lifting base prices by 10c/kg. Kildare Chilling is on a base of €2.90/kg, while ICM has also moved to increase its base price for ewes and is now on €2.80/kg. Top prices for ewes are hitting €3.20/kg.
The sheep chair of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), Sean McNamara, has said that tight supplies continue to drive prices upwards.
He said: “Supplies of finished lambs are fierce tight and we are seeing farmers now moving on ewe hoggets that would normally be kept until the back end for breeding sales, in order to take advantage of the strong prices at the moment. Prices are hitting as high as €7.20/kg and higher in cases,” Sean concluded.
- Kepak Athleague: No quote;
- Kildare Chilling: 690c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
- ICM: 670c/kg + 10c/kg QA.
Spring lamb quotes:
- Kildare Chilling: 700c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
- ICM: 700c/kg + 10c/kg QA.
Cast ewe quotes:
- Kepak Athleague: No quote;
- Kildare Chilling: 290c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
- ICM: 280c/kg.
Looking at the throughput for the week ending February 28, a total of 43,460 sheep were processed, which was a decline of 2,899 head on the week before.
The number of hoggets slaughtered amounted to 37,218 head which again was a fall of 2,931 on the previous week.
Ewe and ram throughput saw a very slight increase on the week before – up 22 head to 6,231 head.
Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending February 28):
- Lambs/hoggets: 37,218 head (-2,931 or -7.3%);
- Ewes and rams: 6,231 head (+22 or +0.35%);
- Total: 43,460 head (-2,899 or -6.25%).
Looking at the cumulative figures for the year to date, 370,620 sheep have been processed so far this year, which is a decrease of 28,959 head compared to the 2020 figure of 399,579 head.
Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending February 28):
- Lambs/hoggets: 324,281 head (-20,289 or -6%);
- Ewes and rams: 46,305 head (-8,701 or -16%);
- Total: 370,620 head (-28,959 or -7%).