Weak demand impacts lamb export markets

The sheep trade across our key export markets was slow last week on the back of weak demand, according to Bord Bia.

It says the sheep trade remains similar to the previous week on the back of steady demand with little change in price.

In its latest update Bord Bia says average lamb prices remained steady with base quotes for spring lamb generally making between €4.50 and €4.60/kg. Prices paid for cull ewes were making between €2.30 and €2.60/kg.

Supplies for the week ending July 18 stood at around 60,700 head, which is around 3,000 head or 6% higher than the corresponding week in 2013. Cumulative supplies are around 1% higher than 2013 figures standing at around 1.31 million head.

In Northern Ireland the Livestock and Meat Commission says quotes from the plants this week have steadied at 360p/kg for R3 grade lambs with the plants reporting good supplies of lambs to meet demand.

The quality of lambs being presented for slaughter has been very good with 76% of the price reported lamb kill last week achieving an R3 or U3 grade. With the shorter working week lamb throughput in the Northern Irish plants last week totalled 9,665 head compared to 11,823 head the previous week.

In Britain, Bord Bia says downward pressure remains on the market on the back of slow demand as a result of the fine weather. The SQQ live price for new season lambs in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €4.77/kg dw during the week.

In France, it says that there was little change in the trade from the previous week has been reported. Prices have remained relatively steady however demand is expected to ease due to the holiday season coupled with the current hot weather. The Irish Grade 1 spring lamb price was making around €5.04/kg (inclusive of VAT) during the week.