Sheep trade: Up to 30c/kg wiped off lamb quotes within a week

Unfortunately – as has been the case for the last few weeks – lamb prices are heading in the wrong direction once again.

Lamb quotes have fallen, with processors wiping off as much as 30c/kg from last week’s quotes, while others have knocked off 10c/kg.

At the moment, base quotes are ranging between 540c/kg and 560c/kg. Although, when quality assurance (QA) bonuses are factored in it is leaving quotes for lambs around the 550-570c/kg mark.

That means, in less than a month, up to 60c/kg has been wiped off spring lamb base quotes. 

Farmers involved in producer groups, according to reports, are securing prices of up to 575-585c/kg.

Processors claim that “a shrinking of markets” is causing the downward pressure that is currently being seen.

Although processors are hoping that the “opening of restaurants – at home and abroad – will see an uplift in market conditions in the coming weeks – in particular, France, which has seen restaurants been given the green light to reopen again”.

What way lamb prices will be towards the end of this week is unknown. Kildare Chilling isn’t quoting today, Wednesday, June 17. Talking to farmers, they are saying that lamb prices could fall to 500c/kg in the next couple of weeks.

Furthermore, at the moment, there is still a bit of variation between factories with regards to what weight they are paying up to for lambs. Both Kepak Athleague and Irish Country Meats (ICM) are paying up to 21kg, while Kildare Chilling is paying up to 20.5kg.

Factory Quotes

This week, Kildare Chilling (Tuesday quote) is offering a base price of 560c/kg +10c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 20.5kg) – for spring lambs.

ICM (Tuesday quote) is offering a base price of 540c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

And finally, Kepak Athleague (Wednesday quote) is offering a base price of 540c/kg + 15c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg) – for spring lambs.

In terms of cast ewes, base quotes are ranging between 250c/kg and 260c/kg. When QA bonuses are taken into account it is leaving quotes – for ewes – around the 250-260c/kg mark.

Finally, both Kildare Chilling and ICM (Tuesday quote) are offering 490c/kg for hoggets.

Spring lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 540c/kg + 15c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 560c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Irish Country Meats: 540c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 250c/kg;
  • Kildare Chilling: 250c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Irish Country Meats: 250c/kg.

Hogget quotes: 

  • Kildare Chilling: 490c/kg +10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Throughput

For the week ending June 7, the number of spring lambs processed decreased by 3,879 head and amounted to 42,491 head.

Again, hogget throughput is behind on last year’s levels. During the week ending June 7, the number of hoggets processed amounted to 2,775 head.

Cast (ewe and ram) supplies at the Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants stood at 6,775 head – a decrease of 767 head – for the week ending June 7.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending June 7):

  • Spring lambs: 42,491 head (-3,879 or -8%);
  • Hoggets: 2,775 head (-1,144 or -29.1%);
  • Ewes and rams: 6,755 head (-767 or -10%);
  • Total: 52,021 head (-5,790 or -10%).

Moreover, overall supplies decreased by 5,790 head during the week ending June 7 and amounted to 52,021 head.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 1,132,376 head, which is an increase of 49,706 head compared to the 2019 figure of 1,082,670 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending June 7):

  • Hoggets: 781,116 head (+41,213 or +6%);
  • Spring lambs: 211,380 head (+29,959 or +17%);
  • Ewes and rams: 139,852 head (-21,483 or -13%);
  • Total: 1,132,376 head (+49,706 or +5%).