Spring lamb prices open at €6/kg

Easter Sunday is just over a month away and, in preparation for the market demand, factories are beginning to quote for spring or new season lamb.

Kepak Athleague is the first processor to offer a price for spring lamb and is quoting farmers 600c/kg for the first of this year’s lamb crop.

The processor is also offering 800c/kg for milk lamb falling within a 9-13kg weight range.

Last year, the spring lamb market opened at a price of 640c/kg and, at the time, calls were made for a price of 700c/kg in order to make the enterprise viable.

Meanwhile, a number of procurement managers and buyers said hogget supplies are likely to pick up again next week.

This comes as the good drying conditions and sunshine will lead to an improvement in hogget thrive and growth rates.

Procurement managers also highlighted the price difference between Irish and UK-origin hoggets, with the 30c/kg lower UK price limiting the demand for Irish hoggets slightly on the UK and French markets.

What are factories paying?

Kildare Chilling leads the way in terms of hogget quotes. It is offering farmers 492c/kg +10c/kg QA.

Kepak Athleague follows closely with a price of 495c/kg + 5c/kg, while both the ICM plants are offering 490c/kg +10c/kg QA.

Factory prices:
  • Kildare Chilling: 492c/kg + 10c/kg QA
  • Kepak Athleague: 495c/kg + 5c/kg QA
  • ICM Camolin: 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA
  • ICM Navan: 490c/kg + 10c/kg QA

Meanwhile, ewe prices remain relatively unchanged from last week with the majority of processors offering 270-280c/kg for suitably-fleshed ewes.

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, the British lamb trade remained relatively stable last week, while throughputs for the year-to-date are up 9% compared to the same period in 2016.

The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales made the equivalent of around 447c/kg deadweight last week.

Moving to France, Bord Bia says little change in the market has been reported as demand remains reduced on the back of lower consumption.

Limited retail promotions have continued and are seen on legs in one main retailer, it says.

Mart trade round-up

Kilkenny Mart

There was a bigger sale of hoggets in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Monday, according to the Mart’s Auctioneer George Candler.

The top hogget price on the day was paid for a bunch of hoggets weighing 61kg. They sold for €119 or €1.95/kg.

Butcher hoggets sold for €108-119 or €1.85-2.17/kg. Factory hoggets made €98-112/head or €2.15-2.30/kg and store hoggets traded at €85-98/head or €2.15-2.40/kg.

Candler added that cast ewes sold for €55-133/head.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 62kg: €115 or €1.85/kg
  • 61kg: €119 or €1.95/kg
  • 49kg: €112 or €2.29/kg
  • 48kg: €106 or €2.21/kg
  • 42kg: €98 or €2.33/kg
  • 40kg: €90 or €2.25/kg

Mountbellew Mart

There was a larger number of sheep on offer in Mountbellew Mart on Saturday, where there was an improved trade for the heavier cast ewes on offer.

Hoggets met with an improved trade and these lots sold for €1.88-2.51/kg, while the ewes with lambs at foot sold for €149-217.20/unit.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 50.7kg: €111 or €2.19/kg
  • 53kg: €112 or €2.11/kg
  • 38.3kg: €80 or €2.09/kg
  • 49kg: €105 or €2.14/kg
  • 48kg: €90 or €1.88/kg
  • 52.1kg: €110 or €2.11/kg

Corrin Mart, Fermoy

Corrin Mart, Fermoy reported a similar trade to last week for the 320 sheep on offer on Monday.

Butcher hoggets made €80-115/head or €46-63 over, while store/factory classes sold for €83-102/head.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 56.3kg: €115 or €2.04/kg
  • 51.5kg: €115 or €2.23/kg
  • 51kg: €114 or €2.24/kg
  • 58.6kg: €113 or €1.93/kg
  • 51.4kg: €112 or €2.18/kg

Cast ewes sold for €20-124/head. Rams made up to €108, while ewes with lambs at foot traded for €168-190/unit.