The sheep trade has once again pushed on this week, with demand very strong as factories look to build supplies for Ramadan which is just around the corner (April 13).

Kildare Chilling is really setting the tone this week, with both its spring lamb and hogget quotes on the rise since last week and the early part of this week.

At the moment, Kildare Chilling is offering a base price of €8.00/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus for spring lambs.

While its quote for hoggets has jumped a substantial 40c/kg from this time last week to €7.40/kg plus a 10c/kg QA bonus.

Kepak Athleague has also upped its base price for spring lambs – up 20c/kg to €7.85/kg plus a 15c/kg QA bonus. The western-based plant, however, wasn’t quoting for hoggets or ewes.

Meanwhile, Irish Country Meats (ICM) was not quoting for spring lambs, hoggets or cast ewes.

Looking at the top end of the market, spring lambs are moving at prices of between €8.00/kg up to €8.15/kg with some reports of deals being done at prices 5c/kg higher than this.

Those moving hoggets at the top end of the sheep trade market are securing deals of between €7.30-7.50/kg, with more being able to get €7.40/kg upwards this week, going by reports.

Ewe trade

The cull ewe trade is unchanged, with top prices ranging from €3.20/kg up to €3.50/kg.

There is also an appetite from factories for lighter ewes (killing out a carcass weight less than 35kg) with quotes 20c/kg higher in some meat processing plants for these types of ewes.

Spring lamb quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 800c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: 785c/kg + 15c/kg QA.
Hogget quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 740c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.
Cast ewe quotes:
  • Kildare Chilling: 320c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.


Looking at the throughput for the week ending March 28, a total of 49,846 sheep were processed, which was an increase of 6,490 head on the week before.

The number of lambs/hoggets slaughtered amounted to 44,941 head which was an increase of 5,671 head on the previous week.

Ewe and ram throughput increased by 819 head on the week before – and amounted to 4,903 head.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending March 28):
  • Lambs/hoggets: 44,941 head (+5,671 or +14.4%);
  • Ewes and rams: 4,903 head (+819 or +20.5%);
  • Total: 49,846 head (+6,490 or +14.96%).

Looking at the cumulative figure for the year to date, 556,497 sheep have been processed so far this year, which is a decrease of 50,497 head compared to the 2020 figure of 606,994 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending March 28):
  • Lambs/hoggets: 491,872 head (-39,058 or -7%);
  • Ewes and rams: 64,549 head (-11,499 or -15%);
  • Total: 556,497 head (-50,497 or -8%).