Despite factories’ talk of markets “being in a mess”, the trade is holding firm for spring lambs and ewes for the start of the week, while hogget prices are coming under pressure.

Top prices for spring lambs continue to hold at the €8.00-8.10/kg mark, with up to €8.30/kg being reportedly secured.

On top of that, sellers are having more joy negotiating on weights for lambs, with many securing up to 21-21.5kg.

Once again, many processors are keeping their cards close to their chest this week, with only Kildare Chilling going public with a quote for spring lambs, hoggets and ewes.

Irish Country Meats (ICM) and Kepak Athleague, when contacted, said they weren’t quoting.

Kildare Chilling is quoting €7.80/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus for spring lambs.

Hogget prices appear to be coming under pressure from talking to processors and this can be seen in the quote on offer, with Kildare pulling its price back to €6.90/kg plus a 10c/kg QA for hoggets – back 20c/kg from last week.

The ewe trade is holding at a similar level to last week, with top prices continuing to hover between the €3.30/kg to €3.50/kg mark.

ISCA comment on the sheep trade

To get a bit more insight into the sheep trade at present, Agriland spoke to Sean McNamara, the sheep chairperson of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

He said: “The trade is holding steady, with prices much the same as last week. Spring lambs are moving generally at €8.00-8.10/kg again this week.

“The early spring lamb is gone now and supplies, although increasing of late, are still tight and will continue to be for the foreseeable.

“You’re depending on the late February/March-born lamb to come through now but they’re just not fit yet – with the weather leading to poor grass growth a big factor because of it.

“The mart trade is going so well and farmers are being rewarded and it’s killing factories having to pay the prices we are seeing at marts.

“Factory-fit lambs are the equivalent of €8.20-8.30/kg in the mart – so why wouldn’t farmers bring them there?

“Hogget prices are coming back but we’re coming into June so that’s to be expected. They’re well gone at this stage.

“The ewe trade is holding much the same, with top prices going from €3.30-3.50/kg,” Sean concluded.

  • Kildare Chilling: 780c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.
  • Kildare Chilling: 690c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.
  • Kildare Chilling: 320c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.