The factories play the poor mouth, but the prices rise by up to 20 cents/kg


At 7.30am yesterday morning I received two messages on my phone from factory representatives indicating that sheep prices were about to come under pressure.

In both cases the blame was placed on the UK market, where I was told that prices had risen again.

However, around midday I looked at the factory quotes for spring lamb and mace here which were actually 5-20c/kg higher than last week.

So what was going on? A big factor is the perception on the supermarket and wholesale side of what is on offer.

An industry insider estimated the fall in UK factory prices for lamb at around 60c/kg.

Where it gets complicated, he claimed, is: “While there is demand for lamb at these lower prices, those buying for UK factories and supermarkets are waiting to see whether these lower prices will actually increase demand.

“Will these recent UK price cuts increase supply next week? If so, UK supermarkets and wholesalers will still overstate this week’s prices, despite being 60c/kg down.”

He also acknowledged that suppliers need to factor in the extra demand for Eid, just a month away.

ICSA’s Sean McNamara said:

“British processors’ need is to get back into the European market and their inability to do so is due to ongoing Brexit issues – and Irish lamb products are filling the gap.”

Despite the negativity, Kildare Chilling and the ICM group add 20c/kg to their offering for culled ewes, bringing them to €3.90 and €4.00/kg respectively, with the ICMs paying 45kg.

Dawn Ballyhaunis have increased by 10 cents/kg to €3.80/kg.

Kildare also added 20ct/kg to their offer for feathers, bringing them back to €8.20 + 10ct/kg quality assurance, while Dawn adds 10ct/kg to €8.00 + 10ct/kg quality assurance.

The two ICMs add 5 cents/kg and reach €7.95+10 cents/kg.

The Hogget numbers are going down but Kildare continued to quote €7.20 + 10 cents/kg QA while Dawn added 10 cents/kg to come up to €7.00 + 10 cents/kg QA.

Mr McNamara reported that feathers sell for between €8.30 and €8.40/kg, with culled ewes selling for between €4.00 and €4.20/kg.

He said the improvement in culling quotes was simply due to strong factory buying in markets, leaving their quotes underpaid for those selling direct.

With factory agents competing fiercely for lamb hoggets and cull ewes in markets across the country, IFA Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey also reminded farmers to consider all options when selling.

Around the markets


Numbers here have been stable, as have trades in deer sheep and hoggets, while springs and ewes with lambs on foot improved.

The springs included five at 54.2 kg for an average of €178/h, eight at 43 kg for €160/h and another eight at 44.6 kg for €165/h.

In the lighter class, 20 lambs at 38 kg earned €131/h, eleven at 36 kg earned an average of €135/h.

On the Hogget side, ten 55.5 kg ewes earned €190/h, five at 51.8 kg earned an average of €184/h. Ten of the deer achieved €204/hour with an average of 101 kg, and another ten with an average of 88.6 kg achieved €160/hour.

Top reputation among the breeding sheep saw two second crop ewes with singles at an average of €310/each.


Ivan Moffitt reported a nice sell off for the day of the year with 1,230 on offer. He said Hoggets are more or less gone and the larger number of lambs are yet to appear.

Lambs at 45 kg are sold at €165/h, lambs at 50 kg at €173-174/h.

Slaughter sheep were a very good deal with those of 70-80kg selling for €140-150/hr.

Ivan said ewes with lambs on foot are “almost over”, with ewes with twins earning up to €300/unit.


Again, the number of ewes with lambs on foot was lower yesterday. Those with doubles sold for €255 each, while prices for the singles varied wildly depending on age and quality.

Five ewes plus five lambs on foot made €127/head, while on the other end three ewes with three lambs on foot averaged €286/head. In between, four plus four made €218 each.

Lambs of 30-37 kg were sold for €100-140/h, 38-45 kg for €140-168/h and 45-55 kg for €160-176/h.

Slaughtered ewes earned €100-250/hd.

balting glass

There was a wider range of nibs here, with the trade being better by around €1-2/hd.

The springs contained 45-46 kg for €157-169/h, 37-40 kg made €144-149/h.

In the lighter range, eight at 35kg brought in €133/hour, while a selection at 36kg cost €122-126/hour, while six at 29kg brought in €93/hour.

Quality sheep hoggets sell for €200/hour, cast ewes make €95-199/hour.

The wide range of ewes with lambs on foot found an easier trade at €120-320/ea.


Yesterday’s sell-off was slightly larger than the previous week, with prices also being slightly stronger.

Seven 49kg lambs averaged €168/hr, thirteen at 40.5kg made €170/hr, while four 68kg lambs/hoggets averaged €179/hr.

Among the lighter offerings, six lambs at 37.5 kg earned €134/h, nine at 38 kg earned €131/h.

On the cast ewes side, two at 100 kg fetched €212/hour, five at 101 kg cracked €218/hour, while samples from 71-87 kg fetched €130-181/hour.

There were no ewes with lambs walking. The factories play the poor mouth, but the prices rise by up to 20 cents/kg

Fry Electronics Team

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