Sheep trade: No change in base quotes, as prices peak at 510c/kg

As production comes to an end for 2019, sheep farmers will have mixed feelings towards the price they have received for their lambs this year.

Although base prices have increased by over 70c/kg in some meat processing facilities over the past few weeks; it still doesn’t make up for the losses farmers incurred between September and November of this year.

Furthermore, there has been no change in base quotes being offered by meat processing facilities this week. Currently, farmers are securing prices of between 490c/kg and 510c/kg including quality assured (QA) bonuses.

One factory, in particular, has said: “There is a flood of lambs in the system currently.”

Farmers involved in producer groups are securing prices of up to 520c/kg. However, by the looks of it, there will be no further increase in lamb prices heading into the new year.

As of now, farmers are securing returns of between €107.80/head and €112.20/head including QA for lambs that are killing out at a 22kg carcass weight.

Quotes

This week, Kildare Chilling (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 500c/kg + 10c/kg QA – no change on last week (payable up to a carcass of 22kg).

Irish Country Meats (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 480c/kg + 10c/kg – no change on last week (payable up to a carcass of 22kg).

And, finally, Kepak Athleague (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 485c/kg + 15c/kg – no change on last week (payable up to a carcass of 22kg).

Overall, when the QA is factored in, this leaves quotes at 490-510c/kg.

In addition, cast ewes are making 270-280c/kg in sheep processing plants (payable up to a carcass of 40kg).

Spring lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Atleague: 485c/kg + 15c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 500c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Irish Country Meats: 480c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Cast ewe quotes

  • Kepak Athleague: 270c/kg;
  • Kildare Chilling: 270c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Irish Country Meats: 270c/kg.

Throughput

During the week ending Sunday, December 8, the number of spring lambs processed increased by 194 head and amounted to 55,794.

Hogget supplies at Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants stood at 66 – a decrease of 24 head – for the week ending December 8.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending December 8):

  • Hoggets: 66 head (-24 or -26.6%);
  • Spring lambs: 53,385 head (+194 or +0.34%);
  • Ewes and rams: 9,129 head (+137 or +1.52%);
  • Total: 64,682 head (+312 or +0.48%).

In addition, cast (ewe) slaughterings increased by 137 and amounted to 8,992.

Furthermore, overall supplies increased by 312 head during the week ending December 8.

Cumulative figures for the year-to-date have reached 2,622,304 – down over 213,000 head on the corresponding figure of 2,835,848 for 2018.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending December 8):

  • Hoggets: 738,908 head (-90,788 or -11%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,494,650 head (-28,631 or -2%);
  • Ewes and rams: 388,170 head (-94,525 or -20%);
  • Total: 2,622,304 head (-213,544 or -8%).