Sheep trade: Sheep kill exceeds the 60,000 head mark for the 5th week in a row

At the moment, the lamb trade continues on a positive note. Base quotes for lambs are hovering around the €5.35-5.50/kg mark.

When quality assurance (QA) bonuses are taken into account it is leaving prices of €5.50-5.60/kg achievable for lambs.

Over the weekend, prices of up to €5.80/kg were, reportedly, being achieved by farmers involved in producer groups or those with large numbers on hand.

Going by reports, prices of €5.65-5.75/kg are being widely achieved for lambs.

This week, Kepak Athleague’s base price fell by 10c/kg to €5.35/kg, while Kildare Chilling and Irish Country Meats (ICM) held their base prices from last week.

Towards the end of this week and heading into next week, factories are expected to ramp up their efforts to secure lambs for the upcoming Eid al-Adha festival.

In terms of lambs coming through the system, processors noted that farmers have been drafting lambs that are that ‘bit lighter’ but are still ‘falling into that 19-20c/kg carcass range’ that they are looking for.

The biggest move this week is Kildare Chilling’s drop in base price for cast ewes by 20c/kg to 250c/kg, with a contact from the factory saying that the ‘focus this week is on lambs’.

Therefore, at the moment, base prices for ewes are ranging between €2.50/kg and €2.65/kg.

Quotes

This week, Kildare Chilling (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 550c/kg +10c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

ICM (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 540c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

And finally, Kepak Athleague (Tuesday quote) is offering a base price of 535c/kg + 15c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

In terms of cast ewes, base quotes are ranging between 250c/kg and 265c/kg. When QA bonuses are taken into account it is leaving quotes – for ewes – around the 260-265c/kg mark.

Lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 535c/kg + 15c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 550c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 540c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 265c/kg;
  • Kildare Chilling: 250c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 260c/kg.

Throughput

For the fifth week in a row, the number of sheep killed has exceeded the 60,000 head mark.

For the week ending July 12, the number of spring lambs processed increased by 3,985 head and amounted to 56,096 head. To date this year, 12% or 52,535 more lambs have been killed in comparison to 2019.

Cast (ewe and ram) supplies at the Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants stood at 7,812 head – a decrease of 498 head – for the week ending July 12.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (the week ending July 12):

  • Spring lambs: 56,096 head (+3,985 or +7.6%);
  • Hoggets: 478 head (-37 or -7%);
  • Ewes and rams: 7,812 head (-498 or -5.99%);
  • Total: 64,386 head (+3,450 or +5.66%).

Moreover, overall supplies increased by 3,450 head during the week ending July 12 and amounted to 64,386 head.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 1,442,029 head, which is an increase of 71,429 head compared to the 2019 figure of 1,370,600 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (the week ending July 12):

  • Hoggets: 786,221 head (+37,147 or +5%);
  • Spring lambs: 476,485 head (+52,535 or +12%);
  • Ewes and rams: 179,282 head (-18,136 or -9%);
  • Total: 1,422,029 head (+71,429 or +5%).