Sheep trade: Strong demand sees prices top €6.50-6.60/kg

The sheep trade continues to go from strength to strength, with top prices of €6.50-6.60/kg being secured at the moment.

Factories have again moved to increase base prices as well. Kildare Chilling has increased its base price from €6.00/kg from last week up 20c/kg to €6.20/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus.

Irish Country Meats (ICM) has also increased its base price from €5.90/kg last week to €6.00/kg (10c/kg increase) along with its 10c/kg QA bonus.

Kepak Athleague is once again off the table this week. The western-based plant was not quoting for lambs and ewes today, Tuesday, (January 19).

As mentioned already, top prices of €6.50-6.60/kg are being secured for those handling large numbers, while a large number of lambs are being moved at prices between €6.25/kg and €6.45/kg, according to a number of reports.

Speaking about the current factory prices, the sheep chairperson of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), Sean McNamara, said that prices are topping €6.50/kg and he urged farmers to stand firm when it comes to negotiating with factories on prices.

He added: “The trade is strong at the minute with prices hitting highs of €6.50-6.60/kg. Farmers are feeding a lot of meal to get these lambs ready for the factory, so we need to be getting prices that we are seeing now and even more to make it worth our while.

I’m finishing lambs indoors at present myself, so I know what costs are involved and what farmers are putting in to get these lambs out the other side.

“What would I say is if you are struggling to negotiate with the factories on a price then the mart is a very good outlet for lambs at the moment.

“Lambs are scarce and are going to remain scarce so I would be hopeful that this will help to maintain the strong prices we are seeing now.”

Looking at the cull ewe trade, processors are quoting a base of €2.80/kg with Kildare Chilling including a 10c/kg QA bonus on top of that.

At the top end of the market, ewes are trading between €3.00/kg and €3.20/kg.

Lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Kildare Chilling: 620c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 600c/kg + 10c/kg.

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Kildare Chilling: 280c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 280c/kg.