Sheep trade: Spring lamb quotes slashed further
During the week ending May 27, the number of spring lambs slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheep meat plants stood at 27,249 – an increase of 5,229 head on the previous week.
On the back of this, factory buyers have cut base quotes by up to 20c/kg over recent days. This amounts to a price drop of 80-100c/kg over the last two weeks.
This week, many procurement managers are starting negotiations with farmers at 580-590c/kg (excluding quality assurance and producer group bonuses) for spring lambs – down from 600-620c/kg last week.
The majority of processors are offering 490-500c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance Scheme bonus) for hoggets, while factory agents are currently offering 280-290c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance Scheme bonus) for well-fleshed ewes.
It must be noted that finishers with larger numbers of sheep to market have been receiving prices above base quotes.
- Kildare Chilling: 590c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
- Kepak Athleague: 590c/kg + 5c/kg QA;
- ICM Camolin: 580c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
- ICM Navan: 580c/kg + 10c/kg QA.
Hogget throughput at Department of Agriculture approved plants stood at 16,277 for the week ending May 27. That’s a decrease of 6,678 head or 29% on the week before.
The number of spring lambs slaughtered jumped to 27,249 – an increase of 5,229 head on the previous week. Cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings fell by 1,220 head or 11.3% to reach 9,525 head.
Moreover, overall supplies decreased by 2,662 head or 4.7%. Cumulative figures for the year-to-date have reached 1,066,368 head. This is an increase of 1.5% or 15,844 head compared to the same period in 2017.
- Hoggets: 16,277 head (-6,678 head or -29%);
- Spring lambs: 27,249 head (+5,229 or +23.7);
- Ewes and rams: 9,525 head (-1,220 head or -11.3%);
- Total: 53,063 head (-2,662 head or -4.7%).
The cuts that have been witnessed in processing plants over recent weeks have filtered down to mart level. Mart managers have reported price drops of up to €8/head for factory-fit lambs in some cases.
Some 1,280 sheep passed through the ring at Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow on Thursday last (May 31). Butcher lambs were reported to have fallen by €5-8/head on the previous week’s sale.
Butcher and cull ewes were reported to have met a good trade. Ewe prices were similar – if not improved slightly – on the previous week’s sale.
On the day, hoggets sold to a top call of €135/head.
- >45kg: €120-134/head;
- 40-44kg: €100-120/head;
- 35-39kg: €88-101/head;
- <35kg: €72-85/head.
According to the mart manager, David Quinn, heavy cull ewes traded for €120-141/head, while lighter lots sold for €60-110/head.
Furthermore, ewes with single lambs at foot made €130-175/unit, while ewes with twins at foot traded for €185-238/unit.
There was an unexpected good trade for all sheep, with spring lambs peaking at €146/head at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Tuesday, according to the mart’s George Candler.
- 55kg: €146 or €2.65/kg;
- 50kg: €137 or €2.74/kg;
- 49kg: €131 or €2.67/kg;
- 48kg: €132 or €2.75/kg;
- 44kg: €117 or €2.66/kg;
- 43kg: €120 or €2.79/kg;
- 37kg: €95 or €2.57/kg.
In addition, cull ewes sold to a top price of €140/head.