Lamb price back up to €5/kg
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.”