Lamb prices rise as supplies tighten

Following eight successive weeks where sheep disposals exceeded the 60,000 threshold mark, supplies for the week ending October 18 registered a noticeable fall at 56,383 head. Cumulative supplies for the year to date stand at 2.12 million head, equivalent an additional 61,000 or 2% increase on last year.

A plentiful supply of grass and excellent thrive has been reflected in a 0.2kg increase in average carcass weights of new season lamb which stand at 19.41kg.

With a tightening in supplies, prices moved on by an average of 10 -15c/kg. Base quotes for spring lamb were making around €4.45 and €4.65/kg. Similarly prices for cull ewes moved upwards to €2.40 to €2.60/kg.

In Britain, the trade remains stable as supplies eased back. The SQQ live price for new season lambs in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €4.45/kg DW towards the end of the week.

In France, the trade remains static. Overall, the market will remain under pressure during the mid- term holiday period with a limited number of lamb promotions. Grade 1 Irish spring lambs were making around €4.60/kg (inclusive of VAT) during the week.

Northern Ireland

Quotes from the NI plants this week for R3 lambs showed a strong increase last week to 355-360p/kg according to the Livestock and Meat Commission. It says reports of a tightening in supplies and increased competition for good quality lambs in the live rings have helped to improve the trade. A total of 10,388 lambs were killed in NI plants last week, the second consecutive week in which lamb throughputs have declined.

In the corresponding week last year throughput in the Northern Ireland plants totalled 11,775 head. The deadweight lamb price in NI last week increased by 6.1p/kg to 341p/kg in response to an improvement in the base quotes from the plants with prices in Ireland increasing by the equivalent of 16p/kg to 338.4p/kg. Meanwhile, in GB the average deadweight price was within a penny of the previous week at 353p/kg.