Factory quotations were flat yesterday with lambs still at a high of Kildare Chillings €6.40 + 10 cents/kg quality assurance and ewe culling at €3.40/kg plus in the case of Kildare an additional 10 cents/kg quality assurance.
On the market side, the numbers continue to rise without really having a negative impact on lamb prices so far. However, after a strong run, the mace were behind by 10-20 €/h in places.
The trade in breeding sheep is also under pressure. Paul Sheridan, after his showing and selling breeding stock and ewes in Ballyjamesduff, wondered if their trade would be like last year when autumn sales were disappointing.
Judging by the yields so far, breeding sales this fall are no better than 2021, although trade is doing well overall.
Prices held up in Roscrea last week but Michael Harty noted an increased number of ‘underfleshed lambs here and there’ – a reflection of increased input costs?
Eoin Kane of Drumshanbo posits that eastern fatteners with better soil avoided excessive food bills and were ahead of their western cousins.
Factory prices for spring lamb peaked at €8.10/kg in the first week of June this year, but are now at €6.30/kg, down €1.80/kg or 22.5 head in nine weeks .
This is a reduction of €37.80/hour.
If the factory prices for steers and heifers had fallen in line with those for sheep over the same period, they would now be €4.12-4.22/kg.
What’s wrong with the lamb trade that catastrophic price drops occur so regularly? Are the markets we have that unpredictable?
Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that from January 2020 to May 2022 Irish sheep processors exported a total of 52,475 tonnes of fresh or chilled produce to 31 different countries for a total value of €342,877,000.
Our four strongest markets in this period were France (22,535 t), Germany (10,394 t), Sweden (4,223 t) and Great Britain (3,488 t). Other important markets are Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
In September 2019, Bord Bia launched an EU co-funded three-year campaign to promote lamb in the Far East.
The result? China took 20t of lamb in 2020 but nothing since. Hong Kong and Japan together took in 10t in 2021 but nothing this year, while the US imported 228t in 2021 but nothing so far this year.
So is there a discrepancy between Bord Bia’s efforts and processors when, after an initial spate of activity and spending, out of the 31 countries named in the CSO data, only 15 were active at the end of May this year?
Around the markets
Paul Sheridan reported nearly 1,100 sheep for sale at his sale, which included a show and sale of breeding sheep and pork.
Prices for the “smarter” Hogget ranged from €195-230/hr, with lighter offerings accounting for €150-170/hr.
Samples among lambs included 50 kg for €215-230/h and 45-48 kg for €156-184/h.
48-49 kg factory lambs are sold for €142-144/hour, 43-45 kg make €134-138/hour, while 32-34 kg lambs are sold for €106-111/hour.
Culling ewes were easier by €15-20/h, with the 90 kg top call making €176/h.
Eoin Kane reported a turnout of 1,800, the most trades, and a trade that was about €5/hd better.
Here, 30-35 kg crossbred lambs were sold for €80-95/h, with the same weight of lowland lambs fetching €95-105/h, while 47 kg crossbred lambs were sold for €138/h.
The number of breeding sheep here was relatively small and sold for €150-200/hd.
Eoin expects growers to have done well so far this year but wonders how breed sales will fare.
With 950 sheep on offer, Michael Harty said it was “the biggest sale of the year so far”.
The number of heavy lambs was not too great; They earned €152-160/hour.
Factory varieties were selling for €124-130/hour while a heavy load of store lambs of 35-43 kg was selling for €108-125/hour.
Michael wondered how the farmers made the sums work when factory and store prices were so similar.
However, he also noted that there was “a scattering up and down of lambs” that could have done with more feeding.
Culls were back at €10-15/h, with the tops at 91 kg €181/h, 81 kg €166/h and 75 kg €156/h.
1,100 head were offered in yesterday’s sale, with Martin McNamara quoting prices for the better beefed lamb as stock.
However, he also noted that some of the lambs were “undercooked.”
These better heavy guys were doing €148-151/hour for 52-57kg, with the standout sale bringing eleven at 50kg for €158/hour.
However, the shops went by 5-10 €/h. returned and scored 34kg at €88/hr, with 35kg at €94/hr. and 38.5 kg 110 €/h brought in.
Heavy cull sheep sell for just under €2/kg on average, while lighter culls average around €1.50/kg.
James Cooney saw larger numbers, with 800 sheep on offer last Thursday, but he estimated prices a little more easily.
Lambs were sold at 44-48 kg for 139-146 €/hour and 50-51 kg for 150 €/hour.
For the culled ewes the highest call was €220 for 105kg but the general run was in the range of €170-175/hd.
On the breeding side, the top call for sows was €222, with the majority selling between €190 and €195/hour.
Jim also reported that cover crop ewes earn up to €175/hd.
Over 3,500 sheep were offered, with trade described as “solid throughout”.
Lambs from 30 to 35 kg fetched 85 to 105 €/h, lambs from 35 to 40 kg cost 95 to 111 €/h and lambs from 35 to 40 kg were 130 €/h.
Factory lambs of 40-45 kg fetched €115-136/hour, with heavier lots selling at €146/hour.
Top call among the butcher types saw 54kg to 156€/h.
Feeding ewes costs €80-120/hour, with younger species up to €145/hour.
The top call for heavy culls was €220 with many lots selling for €180/hd and up.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/sheep/lamb-prices/lamb-quotes-plummet-180kg-in-nine-weeks-41929622.html Lamb prices plummet by €1.80/kg in nine weeks