Sheep trade: Lamb price holding steady as supplies tighten

This week most factories have held quotes for lambs at last week’s figures. Some factory agents are suggesting that lamb quotes are unlikely to change this side of Christmas.

The reduction in lamb supplies is likely to keep a floor under prices for the remainder of the year.

This week Irish Country Meats (ICM) is offering a base price for lambs of 475c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to 22.5kg carcass).

Kildare Chilling is offering a base price of 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to 22kg carcass); this is unchanged compared to last week.

Kepak Athleague is offering an unchanged base price for lambs of 480c/kg + 5c/kg QA (payable up to 22kg carcass).

Lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 480c/kg + 5c/kg QA;
  • ICM Camolin: 475c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM Navan: 475c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

For ewes, most factories are quoting 260c/kg excluding QA bonuses.

Supplies

Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that some 57,948 sheep were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants during the week ending December 2 – a decrease of 5,257 head or 8.3% on the week before.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

The number of lambs slaughtered decreased by 4,537 head or 8.7% compared to the previous week. In addition, cast ewe and ram slaughterings decreased slightly by 740 head or 6.5% on the week before.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 93 head (+23 head or +32.8%);
  • Lambs: 47,294 head (-4,537 head or -8.7%);
  • Ewes and rams: 10,560 head (-740 head or -6.5%);
  • Total: 57,948 head (-5,257 head or -8.3%).

Official figures also show that 2.77 million sheep have been slaughtered up to and including the week ending November 25.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 829,638 head (+22,237 head or +2.7%);
  • Lambs: 1,468,771 head (-18,961 head or 1.2%);
  • Ewes and rams: 472,138 head (+59,140 head or +12.5%);
  • Total: 2,770,723 head (+61,308 head or +2.2%).

Sheep marts

Raphoe Mart

There was a good entry of sheep at Raphoe Mart last Monday (December 3), with strong trade reported for all stock on offer. Reports suggest that prices have increased by €4-5/head for all types of stock. Lambs continue to be a lively trade with a top price of €119 paid on the day.

Furthermore, store lambs are a good trade and fetched €70-€90/head for lighter lots, while €80-€100/head was paid for more forward-type stock. Cull ewes made €70-€124/head.

Lambs sold at:
  • <35kg – €70-80/head;
  • >35kg – €80-90/head;
  • 38-43kg – €90-100/head;
  • 43-48kg – €100-110/head;
  • 48-60kg – €110-119/head.

Blessington Mart

There were some 1,968 sheep presented for sale at Blessington Mart on Tuesday last (December 4).

It was noted that a top price of €122/head was paid for butcher-type lambs, while cull ewes peaked at €122/head.

On the day, store lambs sold for €77-102 or €43-58 over their weight. In addition, factory-fit lambs made from €105-114/head or €58-68 over their weight.

Furthermore, butcher-type lambs fetched €115-122/head or €64-70 over their weight.

Headford Mart

On Saturday last (December 8) there was a good trade reported for all lots presented for sale at Headford Mart. Lambs made from €75-111/head or €2.00-2.18/kg, while cull ewes fetched €81-86/head.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 45kg – €98 or €2.18/kg;
  • 46kg – €100 or €2.17/kg;
  • 41kg – €89 or €2.17/kg;
  • 47kg – €100 or €2.13/kg;
  • 55kg – €111 or €2.02/kg.

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