Sheep trade: Lamb prices continue their upward trajectory

Lamb prices continue to move in an upward trajectory this week. A price of up to 525c/kg – including quality assurance (QA) bonus – was quoted to AgriLand this week.

However, reports suggest some farmers are achieving as high as 530c/kg. As a result, anyone with stock ready for slaughter should bargain hard when marketing their stock.

The price hike is as a result of strong demand. Kepak Athleague has increased its QA bonus to 15c/kg (from 5c/kg). This brings the quoted price to 510c/kg (including QA bonus) and on a par with Irish Country Meats (ICM) after the QA bonus has been added on.

Base quotes for lambs are running between 495c/kg and 500c/kg (excluding QA bonus). There was no change from last week on ewes, which are trading at 270c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance Scheme bonus).

Lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 515c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 495c/kg + 15c/kg;
  • ICM Camolin: 500c/kg +10c/kg;
  • ICM Navan: 500c/kg +10c/kg.


During the week ending January 13, the number of lambs slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheep plants stood at 44,230 head, back 3,609 head on the previous week.

This is also a decrease from the same week last year, when the total number of lambs slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheep plants stood at 49,236 head.

Data source: DAFM

IFA calls for 30c/kg QA bonus

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has proposed that the QA bonus be increased to 30c/kg in order to “properly reward farmers and increase participants in the Bord Bia scheme”.

IFA sheep chairman, Sean Dennehy, also commented last week that religious festivals are important in the lamb market.

Sean Dennehy said: “For the next five years, up to 2024, there will be only one-to-two weeks between Easter and Ramadan; which has significant market implications for the lamb trade.”

Demand for lamb will be high at these times. In 2019, Easter Sunday falls on April 21, while Ramadan starts two weeks later on May 6.

Sheep marts

Carnew Mart

1,890 head of sheep went through Carnew Mart on Thursday last, January 17. The trade was reported to be “brisk” and prices were improved by €2-3/head in some cases.

Sample lamb prices:
  • Lambs <35kg – €75-102/head;
  • Lambs >35kg – €90-105/head;
  • Lambs 40-44kg – €102-114/head;
  • Lambs 45-49kg – €107-118/head;
  • Lambs >50kg – €117-125/head.

Maam Cross Mart

For the third week in a row, Maam Cross Mart saw a 100% clearance of the sheep on show. Factory-fit lambs were a strong trade.

Average prices:
  • Lambs: €85/head;
  • Hoggets: €76/head;
  • Ewes (dry): €65/head.

A top price of €121/head was reached for one crossbred weather lamb; three crossbred weather hoggets hit €88/head, while 10 young blackface ewes made €100/head.

Ballinrobe Mart

Numbers were increased in Ballinrobe Mart on Wednesday, January 16. Lambs were trading between €82/head and €121/head.

Ewe lambs were making €118/head, while fat ewes were trading between €76/head and €112/head.