Sheep trade: No lift in lamb quotes ahead of Christmas

Once again this week, there has been no movement in factory lamb quotes, with most agents quoting the same prices as last week.

This week, Irish Country Meats (ICM) is offering a base price of 475c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to 22.5kg carcass).

Kildare Chilling is offering a base price of 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to 22kg carcass); this is unchanged compared to last week.

Kepak Athleague is offering an unchanged base price of 480c/kg + 5c/kg QA (payable up to 22kg carcass).

Lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 480c/kg + 5c/kg QA;
  • ICM Camolin: 475c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM Navan: 475c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

For ewes, some factories are quoting 260c/kg excluding QA bonuses, while others have increased quotes for cull ewes to 280-290c/kg.


Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that some 65,125 sheep were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants during the week ending December 9 – an increase of 7,177 head or 12.3% on the week before.

Most of this increase was due to an extra 7,216 head of lambs being slaughtered – a 15.2% increase compared to the previous week.

In addition, there were slight reductions in the number of hoggets and cast sheep (ewes and rams) slaughtered compared to the previous week’s figures.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 58 head (-35 head or -37.6%);
  • Lambs: 54,510 head (+7,216 head or +15.2%);
  • Ewes and rams: 10,557 head (-3 head or <1%);
  • Total: 65,125 head (-7,177 head or -12.3%).

Official figures also show that over 2.83 million sheep have been slaughtered up to and including the week ending December 9.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 829,696 head (+22,204 head or +0.03%);
  • Lambs: 1,523,281 head (-22,282 head or <0.1%);
  • Ewes and rams: 482,695 head (+60,039 head or <0.1%);
  • Total: 2,835,848 head (+58,852 head or +0.02%).

Sheep Marts

Raphoe Mart

There was a good entry of sheep at Raphoe Mart last Monday (December 3), with a strong trade reported for all stock on offer.

Reports suggest that prices are holding firm for all types of stock. Lambs continue to be a lively trade with a top price of €118 paid on the day.

Furthermore, store lambs are a good trade and fetched €70-€90/head for the lighter lots, while €80-€100/head was paid for more forward-type stock. Cull ewes made €60-€125/head.

Lambs sold at:
  • <35kg – €70-80/head;
  • >35kg – €80-90/head;
  • 40-46kg – €90-100/head;
  • 46-50kg – €100-110/head;
  • 50-57kg – €108-118/head.

Headford Mart

On Saturday last, lambs made from €76-110/head or €1.75-2.22/kg at Headford Mart, Co. Galway, while cull ewes made from €60-100/head.

Lambs sold at:
  • 45kg – €100/head or €2.22/kg;
  • 47kg – €101/head or €2.15/kg;
  • 49kg – €105/head or €2.14/kg;
  • 54kg – €110/head or €2.04/kg.

Delvin Mart

On Thursday last (December 13), there was a good trade reported for all lots presented for sale at Delvin Mart, Co. Westmeath.

Factory lambs made from €80-100/head, while heavier butcher-type lots made a top price of €117/head.

Carnew Mart

There was a large entry of 2,862 sheep at Carnew Mart last Thursday (December 13). It was reported that the trade was not as strong as last week, with prices easier by €2-3/head for butcher and factory-type lambs.

In addition, there was a very good trade noted for store lambs and cull ewes with prices similar to last week.

Lambs sold at:
  • <35kg – €70-83/head;
  • 35-39kg – €80-93/head;
  • 40-42kg – €92-105/head;
  • 45-49kg – €101-112/head;
  • >50kg – €106-115/head.