The sheep trade seems like a match where both sides are happy to play for a draw, with factory prices turning up in a big way this week.
It is a situation that is favorable to factories. Despite quotes for springs being up 75c/kg stronger than last year, and the national kill being 142,341 higher, processors have managed to distract from the reality that business is strong on the retail end.
How else do you explain that 75c/kg extra behind those big numbers? You do this by constantly talking about the percentage of sheep that are overweight and have a hard time selling – and you neglect really important trading figures.
On the other side of the equation, Farmers are pretty happy to play along because their take home checks are higher than usual for this time of year, and why would you want to worry about the pitch?
So we equal zero-zero in soccer.
With the exception of Don Ballyhunis, who dropped his bid for Hoggett yesterday from 10c/kg to €7.00+10c/kg, all other quotes in our price table remain unchanged.
The question is, how long will a meaningful supply of hoggett last before factories completely turn into springs?
I think Dawn’s drop of 10c/kg might represent a small test to see if it might encourage the last hoggetts in that part of the world.
So quotes for the Hoguet range stay at €7.00-7.20+10c/kg QA with springs at €7.95-8.10/kg+10 QA and cull ewes at €3.70-3.80/kg.
ICSA’s Sean McNamara reports Hoggett actually selling from €7.30-7.50/kg, with springs topping €8.30-8.50/kg and total eaves at €4.00/kg.
IFA’s Kevin Comiskey is in broad agreement, but believes deals up to €4.20/kg are possible for Kules.
“The strength of demand from factories is evident in the prices available at marts as factory agents compete with butchers and wholesalers, providing a real viable alternative to farmers,” he said.
Mr McNamara emphasized that farmers need to be well established in advance, where different factories operate according to different weight specifications.
“They range from 40-45kg, so that’s all you need to know,” he said.
The Livestock and Meat Commission reports factory base quotes in the north as being as strong as €7.49-760/kg, with their current lamb kills at 6,916, corresponding to 2021.
Live lamb exports to the south rose to 3,476 from 671 two weeks ago, helped by the strengthening of the euro last month, from €1.20 to €1.17/kg yesterday.
around the mart
Slightly bigger sell than before but no drop in trade, with prices strong if anything.
Five 43kg lambs in the top call on the Lamb/Hoggett side sell for €165/hd, while five in the heavy division average €158/hd in 48kg, two 50kg making €152/hd.
On the lighter side three 40kg lambs sold for €150/hd, while ten average 37kg made €115/hd.
Cast eves made €85-175/hd, while eves with lambs on foot tops out at €295/hd
Thomas Potterton reported a tightening in the supply of lambs, leading to a strong trade.
Lambs sold for €154–174, with three 48.5kg lambs making €174/hd, while ten went for €173/hd for 48kg.
Overall Eway count improved to €80-165/hd. With lambs on foot is sold from €160-265/unit, with that top price going for nine sheep with thirteen lambs.
Most of the 1,692 sheep offered here were lambs or culled ewes, with almost all hogts now gone in this part of the world.
Heavy cast eaves are sold from €220-250/hd with lighter types €150-215/hd.
Spring lambs over 45kg were sold for €171-179/hd, 40-44kgs at €158-170/hd.
Store-type lambs made €108-140/hd.
Eevee hoggets over 50 kg made €160–180/hd, while good ewes sold for €180–205/hd.
A small entry of sheep, which have lambs on their legs, with one and a half lambs on their legs, is sold for €220-300/unit.
Of the 700 sheep introduced here yesterday, 500 were lambs, most of which made €3.65-3.87/kg depending on the quality and casing of the meat.
However, an exceptional sale saw three average 40 kg making €161/hd or €4.02/kg. Other prices of interest include twelve 44 kg lambs at €170/hd, twelve 44 kg at €170/hd and fourteen 42 kg at €160/hd.
In the heavy end two 60 kg lambs made €192/hd.
The top call between clans was €198/hd, while the short entry of lamb at the foot of the sheep topped €259/unit.
Yesterday 850 sheep were offered, with the trade reported as firm.
The top calls among lambs saw 45kgs selling for €175/hd, with 47kg lambs selected for €168-172/hd.
Other prices include 40-42kgs at €157-168/hd, while 43-44kgs are sold for €162-165/hd.
Stag eaves tops out at €191/hd for 90kgs. No hoggetts were presented.
Last week’s sale was a streamlined affair, offering 616 sheep and the business holding firm.
The top call from Lamb saw 45.5kgs at €174/hd or €3.82/kg, but the average group of 40.5kg clicked at €161/hd, or €3.98/kg.
49.5-50kgs sold for €3.42-3.52/kg or €171-174/hd in the heavy division.
Total eaves included 90-95kgs at €174-175/hd, with 106kgs clocking in at €204/hd. Lighter eaves sold from €130-140/hd.