Mod­est rise but farm­ers await proper div­i­dend

Irish Independent - Farming - - SHEEP RINGSIDE -

CALL­ING where the sheep trade might go at any time is never sim­ple. For ex­am­ple, a lot of farm­ers I spoke to re­cently were de­spon­dent about where the trade was at.

Many spec­u­lated that strong num­bers of fit lambs could eas­ily see fac­tory prices re­main fairly static all the way to Christ­mas. Oth­ers reck­oned that any move­ment would be con­fined to 5-10c/kg one way or the other.

I be­lieve that bar­ring some ma­jor catas­tro­phe prices for lamb will prob­a­bly fol­low the same path as they did last year when prices grad­u­ally picked up through Novem­ber be­fore hit­ting a plateau in early De­cem­ber of €4.80-4.85/kg, and then mov­ing on to €4.905.00/kg early in the new year.

Should that hap­pen again it might not be such a bad re­sult, given that num­bers are up con­sid­er­ably since 2016. Back in 2016 of­fi­cial lamb quotes ended the year rang­ing from €4.50-4.65/kg.

With num­bers of sheep go­ing through the sys­tem head­ing ever up­wards, fig­ures up to the end of Oc­to­ber show them as be­ing 3pc above the same 10 months in 2017.

Given that sheep slaugh­ter­ings in 2017 were al­most 10pc above 2016, the cur­rent mar­ket price is a tes­ta­ment to how strong the un­der­ly­ing trade is.

All of which is very pos­i­tive for the in­dus­try over­all, but farm­ers feel they are still wait­ing for a proper div­i­dend.

Yes­ter­day, quotes for lamb crept up by 5-10c/kg.

The two ICM plants and Dawn Bal­ly­hau­nis were all up 10c/kg to €4.60+10c/kg QA, still lag­ging be­hind Kil­dare Chilling (up 5c to €4.65/kg + 10c/kg QA) and Kepak Ath­league (€4.65/kg + 5c/kg QA).

What all this means is that prices haven’t re­ally pushed on that much at all.

What has hap­pened is that the plants that were lag­ging off Kepak’s pace last week chose yes­ter­day to of­fi­cially close a gap that had stood as wide as 15c/kg.

Strength­ened

I would ar­gue that the move has strength­ened the floor for lamb while not re­ally push­ing it any fur­ther along than €4.80/kg.

Among the farm­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions IFA’s na­tional sheep chair­man Sean Den­nehy said the lamb trade re­mained steady with fac­to­ries pay­ing €4.70-4.80/kg, with some top prices of €4.85 plus.

John Brooks of ICSA reck­oned that apart from spe­cial deals be­ing pos­si­bly done with groups at €4.85/kg, the on-the-ground price re­mained as it was last week at €4.80/ kg.

On the cull ewe front Dawn Bal­ly­hau­nis yes­ter­day pulled them­selves in line with all the other play­ers in the culls league as they lifted their quote for ewes by 5c/kg to €2.40/kg.

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