Sheep trade: Lamb quotes holding around the €5.30-5.40/kg mark

The big talking point last week was the turnaround in prices for lambs, as quotes, for the first time in a number of weeks, headed in the right direction.

Early last week there were reports of factories being unable to fill their lairages and by the middle of last week, quotes for lambs had made a U-turn.

Meat processing plants increased their base quotes by 10c/kg, which left base prices for lambs around the €5.30-5.40/kg mark.

Although, when quality assurance (QA) bonuses were factored in, it was leaving prices for lambs up on €5.50c/kg, with reports of some sellers making up to €5.65/kg.

Marts, across the country, also saw an uplift in prices for finished lambs last week, with some mart managers reporting price increases of between €5-9/head for factory-fit lambs.

Looking at the quotes on offer for lambs this week, Kepak Athleague is the only mover in terms of price. Both Kildare Chilling and Irish Country Meats (ICM) have held their prices since late last week.

Currently, quotes for lambs are hovering around the €5.30-5.40/kg. However, when QA bonuses are factored in it is leaving prices of €5.40-5.50/kg achievable for lambs.

Those with larger numbers on hand or involved in producer groups are reportedly fetching prices of up to €5.50-5.60/kg.

According to Sean Dennehy, the sheep chairperson of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA): “Factories are not able to get lambs at the lower prices and are having to pay a lot more.

“This, in turn, has seen prices of €5.70/kg being paid out for lambs.”

Turning to cast ewes, base quotes are ranging between €2.50/kg and €2.60/kg.

Quotes

This week, Kildare Chilling (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 540c/kg +10c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

ICM (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 530c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

And finally, Kepak Athleague (Tuesday quote) is offering a base price of 535c/kg + 15c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

In terms of cast ewes, base quotes are ranging between 250c/kg and 270c/kg. When QA bonuses are taken into account it is leaving quotes – for ewes – around the 250-270c/kg mark.

Finally, both Kildare Chilling and ICM (Monday quote) are offering a base quote of 440c/kg for hoggets.

Spring lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 535c/kg + 15c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 540c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 530c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 250c/kg;
  • Kildare Chilling: 260c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 250c/kg.

Hogget quotes: 

  • Kildare Chilling: 440c/kg +10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 440c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Throughput

For the week ending June 28, the number of spring lambs processed decreased by 725 head and amounted to 52,100 head.

The number of hoggets processed during the week ending June 28 amounted to 937.

Cast (ewe and ram) supplies at the Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants stood at 7,783 head – a decrease of 130 head – for the week ending June 28.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending June 28):

  • Spring lambs: 52,100 head (-725 or -1.37%);
  • Hoggets: 937 head (-292 or -23%);
  • Ewes and rams: 7,783 head (+130 or +1.69%);
  • Total: 60,821 head (-956 head or -1.54%).

Moreover, overall supplies decreased by 956 head during the week ending June 28 and amounted to 60,821 head.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 1,316,707 head, which is an increase of 63,911 head compared to the 2019 figure of 1,252,796 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending June 28):

  • Hoggets: 785,228 head (+37,322 or +5%);
  • Spring lambs: 368,278 head (+45,182 or +14%);
  • Ewes and rams: 163,160 head (-18,556 or -10%);
  • Total: 1,316,707 head (+63,911 or +5%).

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