Spring lambs take a hammering on the back of additional supplies

Spring lamb supplies have been creeping upwards over the last number of weeks and peaked at 42,920 head during the week ending June 17 – a climb of 12,341 head or 40.4% when compared to the previous week.

On the back of this additional throughput, factories have moved to lower quotes and have imposed price cuts of 20c/kg on spring lambs. As it stands, the majority of processors are now offering 560-570c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance bonuses) to secure spring lambs.

In carcass value terms, a 20kg lamb carcass is effectively worth €4 less this week than last week.

Although factories have imposed strong cuts, there are still a number of deals being done at higher prices and reports suggest that prices of 590c/kg are being offered to secure supplies.

Despite the dip in spring lamb trading, the ewe market continues to remain relatively firm and factory buyers are starting negotiations with farmers at 280-300c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance bonuses) this week.

Supplies

Figures from the Department of Agriculture’s sheep kill database show that some 55,380 sheep were processed in approved sheepmeat export plants during the week ending June 17 – up 11,415 head or 26% on the previous week.

Throughput increases were witnessed in the spring lamb and cast (ewe and ram) categories, while hogget numbers – like previous weeks – dipped further.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes (week ending June 17):
  • Hoggets: 3,884 head (-3,269 head or -37.5%);
  • Spring lambs: 42,920 head (+12,341 head or +40.4%);
  • Ewes and rams: 8,560 head (+1,389 head or +19.4%);
  • Total: 55,380 head (+11,415 head or +26%).

When we look at the cumulative sheep kill for 2017, some 1,219,321 sheep were processed in approved export plants up to the week ending June 17. When compared to the same time in 2017, that’s a climb of 4,499 head.

Throughput increases were witnessed in the hogget and cast categories, while spring lamb slaughterings are still running behind 2017 levels.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 820,910 head (+19,361 head or +2%);
  • Spring lambs: 197,442 head (-50,728 head or -20%);
  • Ewes and rams: 200,858 head (+36,203 head or +22%);
  • Total: 1,219,321 head (+4,499 head or 0.3%).