This year’s sheep cull is 7% higher than in 2021 – 1,831,065 processed through August 28 – but a factory procurement official expects the number to drop.
the logic is based on the average carcass weights his plant has seen over the past month. Lambs do not “die well” due to lack of grass – not enough feed is provided to fill the feed deficit, and farmers are afraid of its value.
“When the rains come and the grass starts to recover, farmers will probably keep the sheep in the hope of putting more weight on the sheep,” said this factory man.
A second factory representative suggested a different approach to lamb weights. While he agreed that some of the lambs were lighter, he claimed that most were “not lean”.
With prices rebounding, he expects the market to “remain stable on both sides.” Asked if prices for farmers had bottomed out now, he said: “I’d like to think so.”
His only major concern going forward was how consumers and industry would cope if energy prices spiraled out of control.
“But if that happens, the problem is not the price of lamb,” he said.
Here and now, the price offered by the factories is a very real problem.
IFA sheep board chairman Kevin Comiskey said: “Teagasc sheep production is forecast to fall this year, with lamb prices not sufficient to cover rising production costs.
“Their Outlook report predicts a 20 percent drop in average household income on sheep farms in 2022.”
Yesterday’s quotes, combined with some of the above sentiments expressed by factory representatives, create optimism that things won’t get any worse.
While Dawn Ballyhaunis yesterday cut its offer for lamb by 10c/kg to €6.10+10c/kg quality assurance, it still puts it ahead of ICM, the country’s biggest sheep processing group, by €6.00+10c/kg. kg QA.
Kildare Chilling was unchanged at €6.20+10c/kg QA.
Cull quotes, though, have fallen by 10-30c/kg. This kept ICMs at €3.30/kg, with Kildare and Dawn at €3.10/kg. Prices on the ground range from €3.40-3.70/kg.
ICSA’s Sean McNamara expects the numbers to “level off” as rain falls to ease grass concerns.
This will help keep lamb prices at €6.20-6.40/kg ahead of a hike, he said.
Mr. Comiskey agreed, but added that as trade developed yesterday morning, factories were negotiating freight and commission on top of prices to secure numbers.
If the hay arrives and farmers decide to keep those numbers, will the factories respond by raising prices, or will they try to tighten it up?
Patsy Smith said trading was a little quieter amid weaker factory prices and higher numbers.
The best call for factory type lambs was ten at 41kg averaging €140/hd, but their total was down €4-5/hd to €110-130/hd.
Although there was good demand in stores, these reduced ex-factory prices factored into buyers’ calculations, with a high of €130/hd recorded for 39kg.
Last week, 1,980 people entered, Nelius McAuliffe said in terms of numbers, “we’re at the height of that right now.”
Although prices did not reach the peak of previous sales, lambs retreated by €3-4/hd.
Sample prices included 30kg ewe lambs at €90/hd, similar weight €84-85/hd, and 35kg ewes at €90-95/hd.
Among light stores, 26-27 kg weight was 70-74 euros/hd, light mountain lamb meat was 2.10-2.30 euros/kg.
A lack of grass in the Midlands and east has seen fewer buyers from these parts, but with the rain coming, Nelius is expecting more customers.
Lamb prices stabilized here after falling by €6-8/hd the previous week due to another cut in factory prices.
Samples included ten ram lambs weighing 42.8kg at €100/hd, 10 ewe lambs at 42.5kg averaging €134/hd and twelve weighing 53kg at €136/hd.
On the lighter side elf ewes at 34.7kg sold to €114/hd and sixteen quality lambs at 33.3kg averaged €120/hd.
Deer numbers were strong and saw a solid trade, especially for the heavier species. Examples include 10 75.5kg ewes at €138/hd, 6 87.5kg ewes at €180/hd and fifteen 78kg ewes at €136/hd.
A large number of hoggets met with a mixed trade, the lighter ones being a harder sell.
Another big sale saw 3,186 ewes on offer, with a steady trade for fat lambs and most of those between 44-47kg selling between €125-130/hd and the best call seeing 50kg make €135/hd.
Store trade was brisk, with growing numbers of farmers around the ring and eager to buy. This added interest increased €5-€8/hd in some lots, with examples seeing 30kg ewes sell for €116/hd.
29-30 kg stores made 84-90 €/hd, and 41 kg forward varieties made 110 €/hd. Heavy pushing ewes made €190/hd for 90kg and €140-155/hd for 70-80kg.
Increased demand on the breeding side pushed hoggets to €170-300/hd. Older breeding ewes were scarce and sold at €150-210/hd.
The numbers here were tidy at 550. Although trading was sticky on the spot after the average price for lambs fell by €8-10/hd the previous week, trading concluded with 47kg lambs reaching €130-134/hd, 45kg. From €125/hd.
On the store side, those between 30-35 kg are sold between 90-110 euros/hd.
Those weighing 85-100kg held up well and sold between €164-196/hd, while lighter feeders made €40-85/hd.
Thomas Potterton reported an attendance of 450 sheep; although it is trading steady, prices have fallen by around €10/hd over the previous two weeks.
This saw 40-45kg lambs sell for €105-120/hd and 45-50kg lambs for €120-132/hd, while a 51kg pack of thirteen averaged €133/hd .
The slaughter sheep trade improved with lighter ewes selling at €82-128/hd overall and heavier ewes to 86.5kg at €155/hd.
On the breeding side, prices ranged from €150-€190/hd.