LAMB producers are feeling a little brighter this week, and it is not only the weather that has boosted them. An improved lamb trade is also adding to their well-being.
Quoted prices at the factories have improved by 10 to 15 cents/kg (4 to 6p/lb), recovering some of the recent slide, and with supplies available to processors falling, sheep farmers are putting more pressure on processors to pay above their quoted prices.
Processors’ base prices opened on Monday at 475 cents/kg (170p/lb), but the market had hardened further within 24 hours, and they quoted base prices of 480 to 485 cents/kg (171 to 173p/lb) for Tuesday’s kill.
The word on the ground is that many processors were having to pay closer to 500 cents/kg to get sufficient lambs, and the price range was 490 to 500 cents/kg.
Intake at the factories is running around 20% down on this time last year, which is putting some pressure on the factories.
There is also a livelier trade in the marts for lambs this week. There was a strong trade for an increased entry, of 700 head, at Fermoy on Monday. Butcher’s lambs ranged from €87 to 110 per head, equivalent to €45 to 62 over. The factory lots ranged from €70 to 100 per head, which worked out as €35 to 54 over.
At Kilkenny, there was a livelier trade for 860 head on offer, with stronger demand all round. Butchers paid €45 to 60 over, and factory agents paid €40 to 53 over.
In Britain, although lamb supplies are reported to be tight, prices eased back over the past week, and farmers were receiving the equivalent of 544 cents/kg (including VAT).
In France, the trade is reported to have firmed, and Irish spring lamb is selling for 520 to 530 cent/kg.
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