Lamb prices drop again but expected to stabilise

LAMB prices have taken a tumble, losing 20 cents/kg (7p/lb) at the factories after a weakening in demand and returns from the continental markets.

The increase in prices from the previous week has now been wiped out on the double, but at least the indicators are that prices are likely to stabilise at current levels.

The factories are all in unison this week, paying a base of 420 cents/kg (150p/lb) this week with the usual bonus payments for quality. In the marts, the trade has remained steady.

The supply of lambs to the factories remains about 10% down on the same week last year and the plants are reported to be anxious for supplies, but they are pointing to the weaker export markets as a reason for this recent decline in prices.

In Britain, the supply has increased over the past week and prices have weakened, with a sharp decline in returns which has brought prices to producers back to the equivalent of 428 cents/kg including VAT.

In France, market demand was slower over the past days and prices have come back. Supplies are selling in the range of 460-480 cents/kg.

There was no lamb sale at Fermoy on Monday as the changeover to the new mart at Rathcormac was being finalised for the opening sale on Tuesday to include both cattle and sheep. The sheep sale will return to Monday as usual next week.

There was 750 head on offer at Kilkenny on Monday, where the trade was steady and prices were unchanged from the previous week. Butchers’ lambs ranged from €42 to over €54. The factory lambs sold for €35 to over €44.


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