Lower figures yesterday boosted factory prices for lamb by 15-30c/kg.
it was Kildare Chilling, which rose 30c/kg to 6.50+10c/kg quality assurance. Dawn Ballyhaunis added 25c/kg to €6.40+10c/kg QA, while ICMs gained 15c/kg to 6.35+10c/kg.
Reacting to this sudden change in factory prices, ICSA sheep chairman Sean McNamara said: “Factories are paying above prices. There is room for serious price negotiation and my advice to farmers is to push for at least €7/kg this week.
“There is also some movement in weight limits, with factories paying up to 22.5kg.”
Mr McNamara also advised farmers to keep a close eye on the March trade as overall prices rose to €8-10/hd last week, with top quality lambs up to €12/hd.
After applying Farming IndependentBord Bia has provided the following detailed overview of the trade.
Sheep throughput at department-approved plants has been 2.46 million head to date in 2022 compared to 2.30 million in the corresponding period of 2021.
Much of this increase was driven by strong throughput at the start of the year as a result of higher hogget shipments to 2022.
The number of 2022-born lambs processed this year is about 75,000 below the 2021 level. This, combined with a higher sheep herd at the last census, suggests that hogget transmission will increase further by 2023.
The final loss of sheep for 2022 at department-approved facilities is expected to be in the region of 2.87 million, up from 2.72 million in 2021.
Rising feed and fertilizer costs combined with some difficult grass growing conditions have created a tougher environment for finishing lamb this year, with reports of poorer lamb mortality and reduced fat cover levels in lambs presented for slaughter.
Production difficulties also had a negative impact on average carcass weights, which fell by around 0.5kg from 2021 levels.
Given the slightly higher level of ewes recorded so far in the second half of 2022, a decrease in lamb production is expected in 2023. This means that the number of Irish breeding sheep will decrease next year.
Reports from Teagasc also show that sheep are in poorer condition in some parts of the country this autumn than in previous years; this, combined with higher production costs, could result in a smaller lamb crop and further culling of barren ewes in the early months of 2023.
There is a demand for lamb both domestically and abroad
has been hit by the increasing effects of inflation on consumer choices in recent months.
A tighter supply of lambs for processing and lighter carcass weights have reduced product availability, keeping a floor below the trade.
Recent data from key European markets suggests that lamb is becoming less of a consideration when purchasing by retail customers given the high price point.
Inflation in the EU in particular is expected to continue to affect the Irish sheep sector until 2023.
However, there is no significant increase in global sheepmeat production expected next year, which would help Irish exports in key markets.
While we will see some growth in sheepmeat imports from Australia and New Zealand to the EU next year, they are not expected to reach historic levels – exports from these regions are mainly to China, the Middle East, North Africa and the USA.
Nelius McAuliffe reported a “great trade” as prices rose on the strength of recent factory improvements.
The biggest movement was on the store side.
“Your 37kg store at €98-100/hd is up maybe €10-12/hd over the fortnight and your lighter 30kg lamb at €75-80/hd is maybe up a bit over the same period” said Nelius.
He reported that 40-42kg lambs were selling around the €3.00/kg mark and horned ewes were selling from €/kg to €15/hd by weight.
Cabbage ewes sold for €40-130/hd and ram lambs €77-130/hd – with samples including 32kg rams averaging €85/hd or €2.66/kg.
Ewe lambs sold for €75-€145/hd and 45kg lots of ewes sold upwards or €3.15/kg.
Patsy Smith reported strong figures, while improving prices for both factory (€7-10/hd) and advanced store lambs.
“The cut for factories was around €154/hd,” he said.
The options from 52-56kg are all dead at €154/hd.
The challenging lighter store also moved better: samples included twenty 35kg lambs at €110.50/hd.
40 kg stores sold between 110-115 €/hd.
At 300, Thomas Potterton felt that voter turnout was steady throughout the year. He believes that prices have increased by 10-15 euros/hd over the past three weeks.
Store lambs included nine 38.5kg samples at €117/hd and ten 39kg at €113/hd.
Lambs weighing 35-40kg averaged €2.97/kg and factory types 40-45kg averaged €2.94/kg: eleven 44kg lambs €132/hd, 43kg Twelve lambs are sold at the price of 125 €/hd.
In the heavier divisions, 45-50kg averaged €2.93/kg and the smaller selection averaged €153/hd in 61kg.
Fall ewes sold between €100-€129/hd.
There was a good selection of lambs on offer. For stores weighing up to 37-42 kg, farmer buyers put a firm footing on their trade: they rose by €3-4/hd, as did meat sheep.
But the lighter store was a little easier.
Among the heavier lambs, sample prices included eight 50kg at €140/hd and two at 63kg at €152/hd.
In the 43-45kg division, a better lamb made €120-125/hd and eight 47kgs made €136/hd. 35-38 kg weight ranged from 106-110 €/hd.
Trading here also improved with James Coney reckoning lambs over 50kg were up €5-8/hd in the limit and €6/hd in light stores.
Samples sold for 150-152 €/hd for 50-52 kg and 54-58 kg for 155-160 €/hd. The 40-44kg section sells for €115-130/hd, while the 37kg stores reach €100/hd.
James believed that with beef lambs being stronger, anyone who bought lighter stores “should be able to get a twist from them in future.”