‘Factories don’t seem to care if they get lambs’

Pressure on lamb prices at factories continued to erode profit margins for sheep farmers this week.

Processors have become more caution about the trade going forward, and are more reluctant to quote prices.

Those who are quoting offered a base range between 450 and 460 cents/kg, with the usual bonus payments for quality.

But as one source put it, “The factories don’t seem to care too much whether they get lambs or not this week”.

However, at the mart sales on Monday, the trade was reported to be steady, but the entries were small, which should have helped.

There were only 200 head on offer at Corrin Mart, where butchers’ hoggets price ranged widely, depending on the quality, from €29 over to €57 over.

Factory lots sold for up to €54 over.

In Britain, it is reported that lower lamb supplies throughout last year have resulted in a strong carryover of supplies so far this year.

Coupled with reduced demand, this market trend has negatively impacted the trade. Lambs were making the equivalent of around 424 cents/kg last week.

In France, the trade was reported to be slow last week on the back of reduced demand and strong supplies.

There is an abundant supply of Lacaune and Spanish lambs in the south of the country, and strong UK supplies are reported in the north of France. Retail promotions were very limited, and only for domestically produced legs. Grade 1 Irish lamb was making around 483 cents/kg (including VAT) last week.

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