Sheep trade: Lamb prices plugging along at 480c/kg

Lamb prices continue to plug along at 480c/kg. In recent days, some plants have attempted to tighten their grip on the market. However, this is being met with resistance from farmers.

Last week, lamb prices were edging closer to the 500c/kg mark. However, some processors have now implemented price cuts in order to keep a lid on the trade.

Given this, base quotes are now sitting at 470-485c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance bonuses). In addition, ewe prices remain largely unchanged from last week and most processors are offering 280c/kg to secure supplies.

Over recent days, another issue of contention has raised its head – the Clean Livestock Policy. Newly-appointed IFA national sheep chairman, Sean Dennehy, said meat factories and the Department of Agriculture must take into account the continuous wet weather over recent weeks when implementing the policy.

Slaughter plants must adopt a practical and sensible approach, he said, and moves by some of the factories to threaten farmers with additional costs are over the top and a retrograde step.

Continuing, he said it is totally wrong that some factories have threatened farmers with a move to ramp up clipping charges; some have imposed clipping charges of 80c/head.

Dennehy also questioned the purpose of across the board charges of 30c/sheep being applied by some factories. These are being applied regardless of whether the sheep are clean or dirty.

Sheep slaughterings jump 12%

Moving to supplies, some 57,698 sheep were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat export plants during the week ending January 14 – an increase of 6,166 head or 12% on the week before.

Increases were reported in the number of lambs processed during the second week of the year, with throughput reaching 49,236 head. That’s a climb of 4,677 head or 10.5% compared to the previous week.

Source: Department of Agriculture

In addition, some 8,457 cast (ewes and rams) slaughterings occurred during the week ending January 14 – an increase of 1,486 head or 21.3% on the number recorded during the first week of the year.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes (week ending January 14):
  • Lambs: 49,236 head (+4,677 head or +10.5%);
  • Ewes and rams: 8,457 head (+1,486 head or +21.3%);
  • Total: 57,698 head (+6,166 head or +12%).