The sheep trade is starting the week on a much weaker note compared to this time last week, with factories moving to pull prices again this week.

Base prices have fallen from the start of the last week by up to 20c/kg and are now ranging across meat processing plants from €6.65/kg up to €6.80/kg.

Taking these lower base quotes on offer compared to last week, it is resulting in producers at the top end of the market now securing returns of €7.00/kg with €7.10/kg also reported to be got but deals to this level are believed to be few and far between.

If we take the €7.00/kg that’s on the table currently, it would mean prices have fallen back 30c/kg from the start of last week for those trading at the higher end of the market.

In-spec lambs are highly sought after by factories, with processors this week continuing to note a large number of out of spec lambs coming through the system – which they say are “causing problems”.

If not already implemented, factories are looking at penialising such lambs (25kg + carcass weight).

Kildare Chilling is offering €145/head for 25kg+ carcass weight lambs/hoggets which is back €5/head on what it was offering last week. While a western-based plant has said that if the situation stays the same for the rest of this week, that it will be looking at offering reduced prices for out of spec lambs.

Covid-19 is also still impacting on the day-to-day running of some meat processing plants.

One factory did say that it is having to deal with staffing issues due to the virus with staff unable to come to work.

Elsewhere, the ewe trade remains unchanged, with prices ranging from €3.20/kg up to €3.40/kg.

‘€7.00/kg the general run of prices’

Speaking to Agriland about the sheep trade at the start of this week, the sheep chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Sean Dennehy, said that prices for lambs at the start of this week are topping €7.00/kg.

He added: “It’s a tougher start to the week, with price back on last week. The general run of it for lambs now is €7.00/kg.

“I think a couple of factors are playing into this [cut in prices]. Demand isn’t as strong with the restrictions on the foodservice industry here. Also, there appears to be less of a demand in export regions which is all playing into what prices are on offer.

“Covid-19 is impacting on everything with staffing problems in factories also being an issue.”


  • Kildare Chilling: 680c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 665c/kg + 10c/kg;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Dawn Meats Ballyhaunis: No quote.
  • Kildare Chilling: 320c/kg + 10c/kg;
  • ICM: 320c/kg;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Dawn Meats Balllyhaunis: No quote.