Spring lamb quotes fall further – Factories now offering €5/kg

Spring lamb prices have dropped to €5/kg, on the back of difficult trading conditions in France and the UK.

Last week, spring lambs were making 520-530c/kg, but farmers are facing 20-30c/kg lower quotes this week.

A number of procurement managers from the main processors said this move follows difficult trading conditions both in the UK and France.

A weaker Sterling was blamed by procurement managers, as this has made Irish lamb more expensive to purchase by UK buyers.

They also suggested that demand for Irish lamb in France in low on the back of strong supplies of French dairy and Spanish lamb.

A higher spring lamb kill has also been blamed, with official figures from the Department showing a 13,000 head increase in spring lamb slaughterings last week.

However, despite the ease in spring lamb prices, the cast ewe trade remains relatively unchanged from last week.

Most factories are now offering 230-250c/kg for cast ewes.

Spring lamb numbers continue to climb

According to the Department of Agriculture, the total number of sheep slaughtered during the week ending June 7 was 22.5% (10,868 head) higher than the week earlier.

Spring lamb numbers continue to increase, with an extra 13,460 slaughtered in Department approved plants during the week ending June 7.

This is a jump of almost 39% on the 34,941 slaughtered during the week ending May 30.

However, the weekly hogget kill declined by 40% during the week ending June 7, with 2,724 fewer slaughtered at approved sheepmeat export plants.

But, despite the fall in hogget throughput, there was some increase in the number of ewes and rams slaughtered during the week ending June 7.

Official figures show a 2% increase in ewe and ram slaughterings.

Main markets

According to Bord Bia, the British sheep trade continues to be underpinned by higher new season lamb throughput.

The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €5.62/kg dead weight last week.

However, it reports that there was a modest improvement in the French trade last week, mainly caused by the beginning of Ramadan.

But, the poor weather is having a negative impact on demand especially for barbeque cuts, while the floods are continuing to disrupt deliveries.

It also reports that there are plentiful supplies of domestic lamb available on the French market, but imported volumes are lower than previous weeks.