Lamb price back up to €5/kg

Irish Independent - Farming - - Lambing - De­clan O’Brien

LAMB prices hit €5/kg last week and the in­di­ca­tions are that the strong trade could con­tinue through the spring.

The price in­crease is be­ing driven by sup­ply and de­mand as a ma­jor drop in the num­ber of hoggets car­ried over from last year has left fac­tory and mart buy­ers com­pet­ing for stock.

De­clan Fen­nell of Bord Bia pointed out that the to­tal sheep kill was back 9pc or 24,000hd so far this year.

He said the fall-off in sheep slaugh­ter­ings was due to an 8pc in­crease in the to­tal sheep kill through 2013, cou­pled with a 2pc drop in the Ir­ish flock size.

A size­able drop in New Zealand lamb ex­ports was also be­ing re­flected in stronger Euro­pean lamb prices, Mr Fen­nell added.

A se­vere drought in New Zealand last year re­sulted in a drop of 1.3m head in the to­tal lamb crop.

Mean­while, ICSA sheep chair­man Paul Brady said the trade for heavy lambs at marts was cur­rently much bet­ter than prices avail­able from fac­to­ries.

“The good-qual­ity, suit­ably fleshed lambs are freely mak­ing over €5/kg at the marts, whereas they have been slow to go over the €5/kg mark at the fac­to­ries,” Mr Brady said.

On top of that, while some fac­to­ries are pay­ing out up to 24kg, some are only pay­ing up the 22.5kg.

Farm­ers with heav­ier lambs should strongly con­sider the marts as an out­let at the mo­ment,” he added.

“The strength­en­ing of ster­ling against the euro this week should also pro­vide a short-term boost to prices for lambs.”

Com­ment­ing on the in­tro­duc­tion of a new 20c/hd clip­ping charge on some hoggets and ewes at ICM, Mr Brady was crit­i­cal of the move.

“With so many levies and charges al­ready be­ing de­ducted from ev­ery sheep, it is a step too far. Fac­to­ries sim­ply shouldn't be im­pos­ing new charges with­out no­tice.”

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