Steady lamb trade, prices maintained

Sheepmeat market report
Steady lamb trade, prices maintained
At the Maam Cross sheep mart in Connemara, Co Galway on Saturday, 16 Mayo black face wether lambs which weighed 23 kg and made €46 each. Picture: James Treacy

The improvement in the trade for lambs over recent weeks has been maintained at factories this week, with a steady trade overall continuing.

There is a variation of up to 15 cents/kg between the quoted prices at factories, ranging from 535 to 550 cents/kg, plus the usual bonus of up to 15 cents/kg for quality.

Although there are slight movements in the prices from last week at individual plants, the overall pattern of the trade remains steady, and demand is reported to be “good”, much of it driven by preparations for the Muslim festival of Eid al Adha at the end of this month, generating demand across the EU, which has less lamb product available from New Zealand and Australia, due to their reduced production, which mostly goes to Asia.

As export plants looked to source lamb supplies ahead of Eid al-Adha, factories have been processing the largest weekly throughput figure so far in 2020.

For the year to date, the total throughput for sheep in Ireland, at about 1.5m, is 5% higher than the corresponding period in 2019.

Spring lamb throughput to date in 2020 at about 500,000 is 12% ahead of 2019, due to good grass growth, carcass weight limits being increased, and active sourcing by export plants for factory-ready lambs.

As usual, sheep farmers are doing deals with processors for a top-up on the quoted prices, and 560-565 cents/kg is generally being achieved, with some lots making 570 cents/kg, and a small percentage making a few cents/kg above that this week.

In contrast to the factory trade, there was a slight easing in the prices at the marts on Monday, where the entries were up on last week.

There were 520 head on offer Monday at Kilkenny Mart, where prices were easier by as much as €4 per head.

Butchers paid up to €70 over for lambs.

There was a top price head of €120 for a pen of eight weighing 56 kgs, while a pen of 19 weighing 49 kgs sold for €119.

A pen of 20 weighing 48 kgs made €118, and a pen of eight weighing 50 kgs sold for €118.

Factory type lambs sold for up to €68 over.

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