Sheep trade: Little change in spring lamb quotes

Spring lambs appear to be holding steady with little change in most factory quotes; the consensus is that there is a plentiful supply of suitable spring lambs to meet demand.

Last week, Kepak Athleague had a base price of 465c/kg + 5c/kg Quality Assurance (QA) bonus and it continues with this offering this week (payable up to 22kg carcass).

Kildare Chilling is at a base of 465c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to 21.5kg carcass).

The two Irish Country Meats’ plants have increased the offered base price by 5c/kg compared to last week to 460c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to 22kg carcass).

Spring lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 465c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 465c/kg + 5c/kg QA;
  • ICM Camolin: 460c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM Navan: 460c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

This brings lamb quotes to an all-in price of 470-475c/kg when Quality Assurance is factored in. Some farmers have managed to secure returns of 480c/kg when booking in lambs for slaughter.

This has been the case over recent weeks with farmers producing large numbers and producer groups in the best position to secure higher prices.

The ewe trade continues to remain stable with base quotes starting at 240-250c/kg excluding Quality Assurance bonuses.

lamb slaughterings, hogget, spring lambs,


Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that some 65,943 sheep were slaughtered in approved export plants during the week ending October 28 – a decrease of 1,016 head or 1.5% on the week before.

A 1,334 head decrease in cast – ewes and rams – was responsible for the majority of this decrease. The lamb slaughter figure remained stable with a slight increase of 398 head compared to last week.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 77 head (-80 head or -51%);
  • Spring lambs: 55,576 head (+398 head or <1%);
  • Ewes and rams: 10,290 head (-1,334 head or -11%);
  • Total: 65,943 head (-1,025 head or -1.5%).

Official figures also show that just over 2.46 million sheep have been slaughtered up to and including the week ending October 28 this year.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 829,203 head (+22,240 head or +2.7%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,214,312 head (-4,445 head or <1%);
  • Ewes and rams: 418,916 head (+53,997 head or +15%);
  • Total: 2,462,572 head (+70,806 head or +3%).

Sheep marts

Roscommon Mart

There were large numbers on offer last week and prices for finished lambs peaked at €106/head (50.3kg).

Store lambs fetched up to €86/head, with cast ewes prices ranging from €11/head up to €90/head.

Finished lambs:
  • 54-56.5kg – €104-105/head;
  • 51.3-52.5kg – €103-106/head;
  • 48.5-51.1kg – €100-106/head.

On the day, store lambs weighing from 38.6kg to 40.7kg sold for €78.50-86/head. In addition, breeding hoggets made from €103/head to €115/head.

Raphoe Mart

There was a large entry of sheep at Raphoe Mart and good trade for all stock on offer was reported by the mart’s manager Anne Harkin.

A number of fat ewes passed through the Donegal-based venue and these lots sold for €60-110/head.

Lambs sold at:
  • 31-36kg – €70-80/head;
  • 37-43kg – €80-90/head;
  • 44-47kg – €90-100/head;
  • 48-55kg – €100 to €110/head.