Spring lamb prices fall further with quotes back by 20c/kg

Spring lamb prices have taken another hit this week with prices back by 20c/kg in the main sheep factories.

Farmers selling spring lambs this week can expect to be offered a base price of 530c/kg, down from the 550c/kg offered last week. 

On a 20kg new season lamb carcass this is a price fall of €4.

The two Irish Country Meat plants along with Kepak Athleague cut base quotes by 20c/kg, while Kildare Chilling has cut its quoted price by 10c/kg.

Base spring lamb prices:
  • Kildare Chilling: 530c/kg
  • Kepak Athleague: 530c/kg
  • ICM Camolin:
  • ICM Navan:

A number of procurement managers told Agriland that the prices have dropped due to difficult trading conditions in the UK caused by a weaker Sterling.

The increased number of spring lambs being presented for slaughter over the past couple of weeks was also cited as a reason for the weaker trade.

Procurement managers are also expecting spring lamb numbers to increase over the next couple of weeks.

Hogget and ewe prices

Only one factory, Kepak Athleague offered a quote price for hoggets this week, with a base price of 500c/kg.

Kildare Chilling is starting to value hoggets based on quality, while the ICM plants didn’t offer a quote as the hogget season draws to a close.

Ewe prices remain relatively unchanged at a base price of 240-260c/kg.

More Northern Irish sheep slaughtered in Ireland

Increased sheep imports from Northern Ireland could possibly have led to the fall in Irish spring lamb and hogget prices.

Irish sheep plants have been able to acquire sheep from Northern Ireland at lower prices, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) in the north.

So far this year, an extra 29,000 sheep have crossed the border for slaughter in Irish sheep plants.

According to the LMC, the increase in sheep shipments from Northern Ireland to the Republic has occurred due to a weaker Sterling.

A weaker Sterling means that Irish processors are able to purchase Northern Irish lambs cheaper and as a result, demand for these lambs from Irish processors has increased this spring.

Supplies

The number of sheep slaughtered at Department of Agriculture plants increased 21% during the week ending May 15 on the week before.

According to the Department’s sheep kill database, just over 49,000 sheep were slaughtered in export approved sheepmeat plants during the week ending May 15, up 8,607 head on the week before.

The majority of this increase occurred as spring lamb throughput increased, up 8,217 head.

But, figures from the Department of Agriculture show that the hogget kill only increased slightly, rising by 1.6% or 315 head.

Official figures also show a small increase in cast ewe and ram throughput, with the cast kill up by 1.3% or 85 head.

Main Markets

According to Bord Bia, there was a further rise in the British sheep trade last week due to a lower throughput of hoggets.

It shows that the SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales made the equivalent of around 515c/kg, about 35c/kg cheaper than similar type lambs slaughtered in Ireland last week.

The French trade continues to remain unchanged, but demand for Lacaunce lamb (French dairy lamb) has eased due to plentiful supplies of Spanish new season lamb on the ground.

However, retail promotions are still focusing on domestically produced sheepmeat products such as legs, forequarters and chops.