Plenty of uncertainty as lamb prices take a hit

It has been another difficult week for lamb producers with prices under pressure at the factories as the trade slips further behind.

The quoted prices for lambs at the factories have dropped by 10-20 cents/kg with more uncertainty in the trade at the processors who have adopted a cautious approach to committing for more than a day or two forward.

There is unison between the processors on the base price for this week at 530 cents/kg plus the usual bonus payments for quality which is worth between 6 cents/kg and 10 cents/kg.

The price cut comes on the back of a see-saw trade last week with the price moving up and down over the week. Producers are hoping that pressure on the factories to get enough lambs will force some recovery in the price through this week. Only time will tell.

The trade at the mart sales on Monday, some of which were slightly sharper than last week, despite the drop in factory quotes, has given some hope to producers.

There was 500 head on offe at Corrin Mart on Monday where butchers paid up to €77 over and the factory lots sold for up to €64 over.

Kilkenny Mart had 655 head on offer on Monday with overall trade a bit sharper than last week. The butchers lots made up to €77 over and and up to €57 over was paid by the factory agents.

There was an improved trade in Britain over the past week with lower throughputs of old season lamb. 

The lambs were making the equivalent of around 515 cents/kg dw during the week. Meanwhile the latest AHDB forecasts are anticipating a 2% rise in sheepmeat production for the full year 2016.

In France, little change was reported in the trade for last week with poor weather over the Pentecost bank holiday resulting in slower demand.

Promotions were taking place in a number of retailers on domestically produced products such as legs, bellies, forequarters and chops. Grade 1 lamb in Rungis was making around 599 cents/kg ( incl VAT) towards the end of the week.


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