Spring lamb quotes steady after difficult fortnight

The spring lamb trade has steadied somewhat after a difficult fortnight for trading. Over a 14-day period, factory buyers moved to cut spring lamb quotes by a massive 80-100c/kg.

However, the trade has steadied somewhat over recent days and most plants are currently quoting 590-600c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance (QA) bonuses) to secure supplies.

Although factories are quoting 590-600c/kg, deals are being struck at higher prices. Where farmers are members of producer groups and avail of QA bonuses, the returns generated sit closer to the 620-630c/kg mark.

Meanwhile, hogget numbers have fallen rapidly over recent weeks and procurement managers are currently offering 480-490c/kg (again excluding QA bonuses) to secure such supplies. Ewe quotes also remain largely unchanged at 280-290c/kg.


Some 53,608 sheep were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat export plants during the week ending June 3 – a climb of 545 head or 1%.

Throughput increases were witnessed in the spring lamb and cast (ewe and ram) categories, while hogget numbers declined by 6,555 head or 40.3% on the week previous.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes (week ending June 3):
  • Hoggets: 9,722 head (-6,555 head or -40.3%);
  • Spring lambs: 33,849 head (+6,600 head or +24.2%);
  • Ewes and rams: 10,032 head (+507 head or +5.3%);
  • Total: 53,608 head (+545 head or +1%).

Looking at the cumulative sheep kill for 2018, some 1,119,976 sheep have been processed in Department of Agriculture approved plants – up 9,461 head or 1% on the corresponding period in 2017.

Notable increases were witnessed in the hogget (+16,262 head) and cast (+34,124 head) categories, while spring lamb slaughterings are back by 40,574 head or 25%.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 810,811 head (+16,262 head or +2%);
  • Spring lambs: 123,943 head (-40,574 head or -25%);
  • Ewes and rams: 185,127 head (+34,124 head or +23%);
  • Total: 1,119,976 head (+9,461 head or +1%).