Scarce spring lamb base prices quoted at €7/kg

Irish Examiner - Farming - - FARMMARKETS - Martin Ryan

It is not un­usual for the sheep trade to ease back after Easter. But Easter 2018 has not been the norm.

It came par­tic­u­larly early in the cal­en­dar this year, and due to bad weather, it came be­fore even the first signs of a nor­mal spring ar­rived on farms.

The re­sult of that un­usual com­bi­na­tion has been very few new sea­son lambs avail­able for Easter, lead­ing to hogget prices reach­ing record lev­els (both here and in the UK). Spring lamb con­tin­ues to be very scarce this week. What is avail­able is be­ing priced by the pro­ces­sors at a base of 700 cents/kg, plus qual­ity bonus and what­ever the pro­ducer can ne­go­ti­ate as a top up. Strong de­mand con­tin­ues for hog- gets, although prices have eased by around 10 cents/kg from the record highs of last week.

Most pro­ces­sors of­fer a base of 580 cents/kg this week, plus the qual­ity bonus of 5-10 cents/kg.

There is a bit of 590 cents/kg go­ing, and an all-in price of 600 cents/kg is on of­fer by one pro­ces­sor.

As usual, ac­tual prices are higher than quoted prices.

The in­di­ca­tions for this week are that most of the hoggets are mak­ing at least 600 cents/kg, and some farm­ers are suc­cess­fully ne­go­ti­at­ing for a few cents/kg more than that. As usual for a Mon­day bank hol­i­day, there were fewer live mart sales.

Main­tain­ing the record high prices seen at marts last week will be dif­fi­cult in the post Easter trade.

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