There is a lot to be positive about for sheep farmers, enjoying the best hogget prices for several years, and expecting a strong Easter lamb trade.
It is an early Easter this year, so lamb supplies wil be very tight, and early producers can expect strong prices.
All processors are in the market for new season lambs this week, offering 650 cents/kg, plus quality bonus, in general. One plant is pushing the trade a bit further with an all-in 700 cents/kg.
The challenge will be to get sufficient supply to meet the seasonal Easter demand. And with lamb supplies certain to be tight, the trade for hoggets is also benefiting, with prices on offer improved by 10-15c at factories this week, where the base has moved to 585c — and most farmers are refusing to sell for less than 500c.
There is also a flying trade at the mart sales for hoggets, having strongly improved through the second half of last week, continuing into the sales on Monday, where up to €99 over was paid by butchers.
There was a very strong sale at Corrin Mart on Monday, with 500 head on offer. Butchers paid €72 over to €99 over, and up to €82 over was paid by factories for hoggets.
There was a small sale of 300 head at Kilkenny Mart. Butchers paid €60 over to €77 over, and factory lots sold for €62 over to €70 over.
In Britain, the trade remained firm during the past week. Lambs were making the equivalent of around 611 cents/kg towards the end of the week.
In France, the trade eased slightly, with higher volumes on the market. Trade for forequarter lamb was reported as being under pressure. Grade 1 Irish lamb was making 625 cents/kg (including VAT) towards the weekend.
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