The sheep trade this week has started off on a positive note, with prices for spring lambs hitting €8.00/kg more freely this week, despite factories’ best efforts to “pull prices” once again.

The trade steadied up last week after heavy price cuts seen the week before.

The trade at marts picked up towards the tail end of last week and yesterday (Monday, May 10); a very strong trade was seen at marts for factory-fit lambs and whatever hoggets were on offer.

Looking at the quotes on offer, some factories were once again keeping their cards close to their chests.

Irish Country Meats (ICM) was the only processor to go on record with a quote for spring lambs, a quote that was only for Monday (May 10) at €7.50/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assured (QA) bonus – up to a carcass weight of 20.5kg.

Kildare Chilling and Kepak Athleague were not quoting for spring lambs when contacted.

The general run of prices at the top end of the market for spring lambs continues to range from €7.70/kg up to €8.00/kg at the top end of the market.

Hogget quotes are unchanged for both Kildare Chilling and ICM from last week, with base prices ranging from €7.00-7.10/kg including a 10c/kg QA bonus.

Hogget prices at the top end of the market are ranging from €7.30-7.50/kg.

Similarly, quotes for ewes are unchanged from last week at €3.20/kg, with Kildare Chilling also offering a 10c/kg QA bonus.

Again, prices at the top end of the market are ranging from €3.30/kg up to €3.50/kg for larger lots.

ICSA comment

Commenting on the sheep trade this week, Sean McNamara, the sheep chairperson of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) said to Agriland: “Factories are trying to put downward pressure on prices but are struggling to do so.

“Spring lamb prices are up now to €7.90-8.00/kg, while I heard of €8.30/kg being got at one factory for spring lambs.

“The word going around is factories are trying to pull prices but going by what I’m hearing and seeing, it’s the other way it’s going.

“Hoggets are up to €7.40-7.50/kg, while the ewe trade is unchanged still with €3.30-3.40/kg being got and even more in cases.”

  • Kildare Chilling: No quote;
  • ICM: 750c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.
  • Kildare Chilling: 710c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Tuesday quote);
  • ICM: 700c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Monday quote);
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.
  • Kildare Chilling: 320c/kg + 10c/kg QA (Tuesday quote);
  • ICM: 320c/kg (Monday quote);
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.