Prices are once again on the rise for spring lambs and hoggets, as factories intensify their efforts to secure supplies.

With Easter around the corner and Ramadan already underway, demand is strong and this is reflected with another price increase since the start of last week.

The numbers of spring lambs coming on-stream continue to remain small.

However, one would expect numbers to start increasing shortly and as such, to entice numbers forward, base prices for spring lambs have increased by as much as 20c/kg since the start of last week at some factories.

This is leaving base prices ranging from €7.70/kg up to €7.90/kg and with quality assurance bonuses factored in, it is leaving prices for spring lambs coming in at €8.00/kg.

Those securing higher deals for spring lambs are reportedly getting up to as high as €8.50/kg, with €8.20-8.30/kg being generally secured at the higher end of the market.

Furthermore, hogget prices have also lifted by 10c/kg at the higher end of the market.

Base quotes for hoggets are ranging from €7.05/kg up to €7.20/kg – which is a rise of 20c/kg in cases since the start of last week.

Those trading at the higher end of the market are securing deals of €7.40-7.50/kg, with up to €7.60/kg also being reported for those with large numbers on hand.

The only case of no increase in price from last week is that of cull ewes, with prices generally at €3.80-4.00/kg, which is similar to last week.

‘Prices on the rise but are being eroded away’

Speaking to Agriland, the sheep chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Kevin Comiskey, said that although sheep prices are increasing, they are being eroded straight away.

He said: “It’s welcome news to see prices increasing, but it’s little good when they are at the same level as this time last year.

“This wouldn’t be so bad if input costs were the same as last year, but they aren’t and far from it, and any increase is being eroded away due to sky-high input costs.

“More needs to be done for this low-income sector, especially now with what’s happening with the rise in costs.”

Kevin said the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue must ensure sheep farmers are directly supported in the €48 million crisis fund that is available.

Touching on prices coming into the start of this week, Kevin said: “Spring lambs are making up to €8.30-8.50/kg, with hoggets mainly moving at prices from €7.20/kg to as high as €7.60/kg. Cull ewes are moving at prices of €3.80-4.00/kg.”