Short­age of sup­ply drives prices up­ward

Irish Independent - Farming - - SHEEP RINGSIDE -

“AS IS the gen­eral rule of thumb, the live­stock trade is dic­tated by sup­ply and de­mand. With num­bers of sheep on of­fer re­main­ing small, prices have lifted in re­sponse, re­sult­ing in many buy­ers not be­ing able to fill their or­ders.”

This is Ge­orge Can­dler’s sum­ma­tion of his sheep sale in Kilkenny yes­ter­day. It’s a sum­mary that ap­plies to all marts in the last week, and with very lit­tle tweak­ing you could also ap­ply it this week to the fac­tory trade.

The tight­en­ing of sup­plies which saw prices lift by 10c/ kg last week con­tin­ues, with prices for lamb at most plants up by a fur­ther 5-10c/kg. This week’s price ta­ble (be­low) sees the two ICM plants raise their quote for lamb by 5c/ kg to €4.80+10c/kg qual­ity as­sur­ance, while Kil­dare Chill­ing’s price is bet­ter by 10c/kg at €4.90+10c/kg QA.

Nei­ther Dawn Bal­ly­hau­nis nor Moy­val­ley Meats quoted for our ta­ble last week but both re­turn this week. Moy­val­ley crack on to a straight €4.90/kg for lambs, while Dawn quoted €4.80+10c/kg QA yes­ter­day morn­ing.

The trade for cull ewes, which up to two weeks ago showed no signs of life, has shaken it­self awake in the last 14 days to the point where yes­ter­day all plants were quot­ing a base of €2.60/kg, which in most cases is 10c/ kg ahead of where they were last week and 20c/kg ahead of their ewe price from two weeks ago.

Kil­dare Chill­ing edge the lead from the pack with an ad­di­tional 10c/kg QA.

Most plants ap­peared to be of­fer­ing deals in and around the €5.00-5.10/kg mark yes­ter­day, but IFA na­tional sheep chair­man Sean Den­nehy said there is a ma­jor pos­i­tive shift in the lamb trade this week and that some fac­to­ries were pay­ing €5.15/kg.

John Brooks of ICSA noted that fac­to­ries have started “trick­ing around with weight lim­its and prices” as they at­tempt to hold back the tide.

“Some plants are pay­ing €5/ kg on weights up to 22.5kg, while oth­ers are giv­ing more, but slip­ping the weight to 22kg,” he said.

Mr Den­nehy noted that there will be a con­ver­gence of the dates of Easter with Ra­madan for the next five years from 2019: there will only be one to two weeks be­tween the two.

He reck­ons this align­ment should have sig­nif­i­cant price im­pli­ca­tions for those in the sheep busi­ness.

The last word goes to Mr Can­dler: “It does ap­pear that the sheep trade will re­main firm. If only we could say the same thing about the cat­tle trade.”


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