With factory quotes largely unchanged again, ICSA’s Sean McNamara described the situation as “a Halloween horror show for the fatteners.”
ICSA has calculated that it will currently cost €60/hr to fatten 30kg lambs and have them ready by mid-January,” he said. “That simply does not work.”
Sheep farmers are very frustrated with the lack of commitment from the factories where the trade takes place over the long term.
Although the amounts are currently not attractive, there are still farmers who buy these lambs to make a profit.
Trading is weak right now, but all trading is based on trust and a recklessness to take advantage of market weaknesses.
Market trust is often just a matter of perception.
Carnew’s David Quinn, for example, found that after a very dry summer, 30kg shop lambs were thinner than usual and now looking decidedly poor after recent rains, causing their price to drop by €25-30/hr to 60 -70€/h compared to six weeks ago.
However, David reckoned that a dry week could add up to €10/hr to the price simply because “who wants to buy sheep just to see them stomping around in the mud?”.
David Faulken in Ballymote also noted that buyers were tight for 30kg lambs and that light lamb prices had fallen while heavy, meaty sheep had risen by €4-5/hr.
The only change to the factory offering was that Kildare Chilling pushed the boat out for lamb by adding 10c/kg, bringing them to €6.10 + 10c/kg quality assurance.
They did, however, join Dawn Ballyhaunis in not citing for culling sheep this week
On the supply front, ministry data for the week ending October 30 shows the number of animals presented for slaughter remains high, with a kill of 62,482 compared to 46,976 in the same week last year.
This brought the total number of sheep killed for the year to the end of October to 2,408,131, a 7 percent increase from 2021.
IFA Sheep President Kevin Comiskey reported lamb prices of €6.10-640/kg at carcass weights up to 22 kg, with gutted ewes of €2.70-3.50/kg.
He was highly critical of the Ministry’s issued conditions for the advance payment of the feed support scheme, saying: “The scheme is only available to farmers who have qualified for payments in 2022 and is based on saving hay and silage.
“A large cohort of sheep farmers operating in mountain areas failed to claim the scheme this year and have now been excluded from the €30 million scheme.
“IFA raised concerns about the shop selling of lambs to the Minister and his officials earlier this year and this has now happened, with a very difficult shop selling of lighter hill lambs in particular – affecting the same cohort of farmers who are excluded from the plan .”
Around the markets
A big sale with 3200 on offer saw anything with meat as a good deal, although light 30kg shops were under pressure.
“Six weeks ago 30kg of lamb was worth €85-90/hour,” says David Quinn. “Today it’s 60-70 €/hour. The dry summer didn’t help and they were probably thinner than normal; now they are wet and don’t look like it.”
Another 37-38 kg are sold at €97-100/h, with factory lambs €120-134/h and butcher types €137-144/h.
Overall, David has saved fat lambs by an average of €10/h compared to last year, light stores less by around €20/h.
Again, lighter lambs weren’t better, but heavier lambs were improved.
Example prices included 60-65 kg of butcher’s lamb at €136-137/hour; twenty-six 46-47 kg lambs at €128-129/hd; and 43kg lambs at 123€/h.
Better lambs of 35-40 kg are generally sold for €101-108/hd.
Breeding sheep were earning €115-140/hour while cast ewes were selling for €120/hour. Feeding ewes yielded €45-75/hour and compared well to fattening lambs.
David Faulken reported a decrease in the numbers with almost 400 offers. This fall proved a bonus for those with meaty lambs and heavy ewes that were 4-5€/hd stronger.
These saw-meat lambs go for €131-148/hd, with that top call going to a 50kg batch.
40kg lamb lambs were selling at €102-108/hour but 30kg shops were under pressure as customers were scarce and fetching €70-80/hour.
Butchered ewes sell from €80/hour for lower quality weathered types to €158/hour for 96 kg.
Yesterday’s sale featured 900 sheep and trade remained stable.
Light stores of 28-31 kg fetched €60-80/hr. one, 32-36 kg 80-100 €/h, while 37-41 kg 100-120 €/h brought in.
On the factory side, 42-45 kg sells for €120-130/hour, with 46-52 kg earning €130-140/hour, while high-quality lambs of this weight sell at a maximum of €152/hour.
Slaughtered ewes are sold for €50-170/hd.
James Cooney reported reduced numbers last Thursday after the previous day’s storm and flooding. This helped the prices, which were about €2.00/kg better for meaty lambs.
Example prices for the heavy saws with 49-52 kg cost 140-145 €/h, with 43-46 kg 120-127 €/h.
However, the more shop-like lamb was a tougher deal, with fewer males at 36-39kg, although they all sold, fetching €94-102/hd.
Numbers here were also reduced, which helped stabilize trade for shops, with factory lambs and breeding animals also being stable.
Five lambs at 52.8 kg fetched €147/h, another five at 55.8 kg brought in an average of €142/h.
At the lighter end, ten lambs at 37kg were sold for €108/hour, with eleven lambs at 32.8kg averaging €90/hour.
Deer numbers have been declining, with the heavier species trading being slightly better as prices have ranged between €60 and €136/hd overall.
On the breeding side, ewe hoggets earned €150-170/h, older ewes €140-170/h
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/sheep/lamb-prices/static-quotes-a-halloween-horror-show-for-fatteners-42126247.html Static quotes “a halloween horror show” for masters