Sheep trade: No major change in quotes, as hogget supplies tighten further

Base quotes for both spring lambs and hoggets continue to hold around the €6.00/kg and €5.35/kg mark respectively.

Quotes of between €6.00/kg and €6.10/kg are being offered for non-quality assured spring lambs. Farmers involved in producers or with a large number of lambs are securing prices of up to €6.30/kg.

There seems to be a steady supply of lambs coming on stream at the moment. Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that spring lamb throughput is increasing week-on-week.

Hogget supplies are tight at the moment, but that doesn’t seem to be bothering processors too much, as some have changed over completely from hoggets to spring lambs, while others are not far behind in doing the same.

Base quotes are hovering around the €5.30-5.40/kg mark again this week for non-quality assured hoggets. Processors say that they are still on the lookout for hoggets; however, finding in-spec stock is getting difficult.

Good-quality hoggets that are of the desired weight and that are well-fleshed are getting harder to come by, according to factory sources. 

Cast ewe quotes have increased slightly this week – by 10c/kg; although, there is still quite a big variation in quotes being offered by meat processing plants.

Processors also noted that there is a good retail demand for lamb; however, the same can’t be said for Ramadan, as it enters its final week. According to factory sources, demand for sheepmeat for the well-known festival is “dead in the water”.

However, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) sheep chairman, Sean Dennehy, had a very different take, saying last week that “there was a strong demand for lamb, which was being driven by the end of the Ramadan festival”. Although, he did say that “there was a strong retail demand for lamb here in Ireland”.

It is important that farmers make sure they check what factories are paying up to in terms of carcase weight before they send stock to the factory. There is a bit of variation among plants to what they are paying up to for spring lambs. Plants are, generally, paying up to between 20kg and 21.5kg for lambs.

Similarly, factories are paying up to different weights for hoggets and cast ewes, so it’s best to keep in regular contact with your processor with regards to this.

Quotes

Taking a look at the quotes on offer, both Irish Country Meats (ICM) and Kepak Athleague (Monday quote) are offering a base price of 600c/kg for spring lambs, while Kildare Chilling (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 610c/kg.

When quality assurance (QA) bonuses are factored in, this leaves quotes at 610-620c/kg for spring lambs.

Taking a look at the quotes for hoggets, ICM (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 530c/kg, while Kildare Chilling (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 540c/kg.

Kepak Athleague wasn’t quoting for hoggets on Monday, May 18.

When QA bonuses are factored in, this leaves quotes at 540-550c/kg for hoggets.

Turning to the cast ewe quotes, Kildare Chilling (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 270c/kg. Both ICM and Kepak Athleague (Monday quote) are offering 250c/kg.

When QA bonuses are taken into account, this leaves quotes at 250-280c/kg.

Spring lamb quotes:

  • ICM: 600c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 600 + 15c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 610c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Hogget quotes:

  • ICM: 530c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 540c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Cast ewe quotes: 

  • ICM: 250c/kg;
  • Kepak Athleague: 250c/kg;
  • Kildare Chilling: 270c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Throughput

For the week ending May 10, the number of spring lambs processed increased by over 8,400 head compared to the previous week, as hogget supplies continue to decrease week-on-week.

In total, the number of spring lambs processed amounted to 21,112 for the week ending May 10.

During the week ending May 10, the number of hoggets processed decreased by 10,803 head and amounted to 14,561 head.

Cast (ewe and ram) supplies at the Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants stood at 6,798 head – an increase of 901 head – for the week ending May 10.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending May 10):

  • Hoggets: 14,561 head (-10,803 or -42%);
  • Spring lambs: 21,112 head (+8,486 or +67%);
  • Ewes and rams: 6,798 head (+901 or +15.27%);
  • Total: 42,475 head (-1,415 or -3.22%).

Moreover, overall supplies decreased by 1,415 head during the week ending May 10 and amounted to 42,475 head.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 920,754 head, which is an increase of nearly 50,000 head compared to the 2019 figure of 871,006 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending May 10):

  • Hoggets: 755,981 head (+69,879 or +10%);
  • Spring lambs: 52,978 head (-180 or -0.3%);
  • Ewes and rams: 111,767 head (-19,969 or -15%);
  • Total: 920,754 head (+49,748 or +6%).

CLASSIFIED ADVERTS