The positivity around the sheep trade continues, as spring lamb and hogget prices drive on once again.

Tight supplies and a huge demand driven by Ramadan are seeing prices continuing to drive upwards.

Factories continue to struggle to match supplies with the ever-growing market demand, and this is seeing them go to lengths never-before-seen to secure supplies.

Factory agents are having to deal with huge competiton at mart sales from butchers and wholesalers for supplies and this is leading to a rocking mart trade that has continued into this week.

Spring lambs

Looking at spring lambs, factories have moved once again to increase base quotes this week. Kildare Chilling has moved to increase its base price by 10c/kg to €8.10 + 10c/kg quality assured (QA) bonus.

Irish Country Meats (ICM) is back on the table this week with a quote for spring lambs of €7.90 + 10c/kg QA bonus.

Kepak Athleague wasn’t quoting for spring lambs today (Tuesday, April 13).

At the top end of the market, prices of up to €8.30-8.50/kg are being secured for spring lambs.

Hoggets and cull ewes

In terms of hoggets, prices are on the rise. Kildare Chilling has moved to increase its base price for hoggets to €7.60/kg plus a 10c/kg QA bonus – which is an increase of 20c/kg from this time last week.

On the other hand, Kepak Athleague and ICM were keeping their cards close to their chest and were not quoting for hoggets for today (Tuesday, April 13).

Those moving hoggets at the top end of the market are securing deals of €7.90-8.00/kg currently, up to as much as 23.5-24kg carcass weight.

The ewe trade is much the same, with many at the top end of the market securing prices of up to €3.30-3.50/kg.

ICSA comment

Speaking about the trade at present, Sean McNamara, the sheep chairperson of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) said: “It’s unbelievable where prices are at currently.

“This week, spring lambs are hitting €8.50/kg and who would have thought we would see €8.00/kg being paid for hoggets.

“There’s a serious demand there at the minute and factories are just not able to get their hands on supplies because they are just not there to get.

“The cull ewe trade is much the same, with factories paying up to €3.30-3.40/kg and even up to as much as €3.50/kg.

“The mart trade is rocking for cull ewes so there’s a very good alternative there for farmers. In truth, the mart is as good a place as any to bring sheep if you’re hitting a brick wall in terms of negotiations with factories.”

  • Kildare Chilling: 810c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 7.90c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.
  • Kildare Chilling: 760c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.
  • Kildare Chilling: 320c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: No quote;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.