Tight supplies ‘driving lamb prices’ amid efforts to fill Christmas orders

The “upward trajectory” in the lamb and sheep trade is continuing this week, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Commenting on the state of play in the market this week, IFA Sheep Committee chairman Sean Dennehy said:

“Supplies are tight and strong market conditions have pushed prices on a further 5–10c/kg for some sellers as factories struggle to fill orders on the lead in to Christmas.”

The numbers of lambs processed weekly for the past eight weeks is below the corresponding period in 2019, a situation that is projected to continue based on available supplies and this will help drive the trade, the chairman said.

In addition, the strong performance of lamb in the supermarket trade throughout the year is expected to intensify over the coming weeks as Christmas approaches, he added.

Dennehy said, to meet this demand, €5.60/kg is available from all factories with deals pushing prices above these levels for larger lots and groups of lambs.

He said factories are freely offering weights to 22.5kg with 23kg offered to secure lambs.

Strong competition between factory agents, butchers and wholesalers is driving the mart trade and returns are comparing very favourably, particularly for those not securing the higher factory prices.

The cull ewe trade has also strengthened with prices ranging from €2.70 to €3/kg.

Dennehy said farmers should continue to move lambs as they become fit to maximise returns from the market place.