Lamb price down 10-15c/kg in latest blow to farmers

The price pulls continued yesterday, with another 10-15c/kg slashed off lamb quotes and cull ewes back 10c/kg.

hese latest cuts brings the cumulative fall in factory prices for lamb over the last six weeks to €1.10-1.15/kg, with cull ewes down by up to 50c/kg.

On the lamb side, Dawn Ballyhaunis are back 15c/kg to €6.70+10c/kg quality assurance, with the ICM plants down 10c/kg to the same mark.

Kildare Chilling are also on €6.70+10c/kg QA — their first official quote for lamb since the end of June, when they were on €7.40+10c/kg QA.

ICSA’s Sean McNamara was not a happy man and is hoping to meet the processors this week to discuss the price situation.

He said he will be putting forward “very frankly” the concerns of all Irish sheep farmers and will be asking for credible explanations why prices have collapsed.

“I was on sheep farms in Wales last week and saw the effect that the recent hot weather had on lambs,” he said.“They appeared stunted and nowhere near fit as they should be because of the heat — a situation prevails across much of England as well.

“It’s fair to assume that given the extreme heat on the continent, lamb production in France and Spain has also suffered. So I’m not buying the factory line that there is no market.”

Sean claimed: “It’s the farmer who is being asked to cover increased factory and supermarket costs and maintain their profits while at the same time catching the consumer on price at the other end.”

Sean’s advice to producers is not to sell under-finished lamb, noting that because of increased meal costs very few sheep farmers have chosen to feed lambs this summer.

“Lambs are killing out poorly because of the hot weather, plus most have not been fed,” he said. “It’s a very good lamb at 40kg that will die into 21kg this year — lads should consider letting them lie on if they are not feeding, maybe run them to 50kg.”

Comment from the factories yesterday centred on the trade in general being only “so-so” and claims that the carcase trade was quiet.

If trade can be affected by a fall-off in demand from the continent for carcase lamb, it raises questions as to how advanced the factories’ grasp of added-value product is, ie, pre-packed or prepared lamb meals.

Also, the level of supermarket promotion has fallen off dramatically this year.

I understand that consumers are price conscious but if it was all about price, companies like Gucci and Mercedes wouldn’t be worth billions billionaire entities.

Wexford strawberries and potatoes are currently for sale on the side of local roads. They too are superior quality, and are also ridiculously dear, but they’re sold out by 4.0 every day. Lessons to be learned.

Around the marts


Last week’s sale had a good turnout, with butcher-type lambs topping out at €2.92/kg or €152/hd for 52kgs.

In the factory section the best of the 46-46.5kg lambs sold for €146-150/hd or €3.17-3.23/kg, while one batch at 45kg cracked on to €3.31/kg or €149/hd.

Among the stores top call went to a batch averaging 34.6kg who sold for €3.44/kg €119/hd.

On the cull ewe side 85-93kgs sold from €170-190/hd, with 56-68kgs making €104-120/hd.


There were 600 sheep on offer here last Wednesday evening. Paul Sheridan reported good demand with the trade holding well, adding: “The live trade continues to return more than the dead trade.”

The factory lambs included 43kgs at €140/hd and 49.5kgs at €151/hd.

There was strong demand for stores, with 33kg ram lambs selling to €97/hd, while 30kg ewe lambs made up to €113/hd.

Well-fleshed cull ewes saw 90kgs make €166/hd with 75-88kgs €149-162/hd; less-fleshed 70kg culls sold from €112-113/hd.


There was a slightly easier trade for fat lambs and butcher types, but the future of the industry looks secure, with a lot of activity ringside for ewes suitable for early lambing.

Among the heavy lambs, 55kgs sold to €153/hd while the 47-48kg section made €144-147/hd; 43-46kgs topped at €141/hd, with fifteen 40kg lambs averaging €118/hd.

The general run of 35-37kg stores sold for €97-108/hd, while better 33-35kg stores made €93-96/hd.

Cast ewes sold for €107-138/hd, with breeding ewes €156-170/hd.


There were 400 sheep on offer here last week, with James Cooney saying that despite factory price pulls, sellers got on better than expected.

Sample prices saw 44kg lambs sell to €144/hd, with 48kgs making up to €148/hd, while 50kg lambs peaked at €150/hd.

Stores were scarce but 39kgs sold to €119/hd.

Among the cull ewes the message was the heavier the better with 90-95kgs making €188-190/hd while a 103kg sold for €208.


There was an increased entry here with lamb prices overall averaging €3.05/kg.

Lambs from 21-37kg sold from €60-115/hd, with heavier types selling to a top of €150/hd. The heavier cull ewe was also in demand, with prices ranging from €80-204/hd.


Numbers here remain steady, with the trade also holding.

The heavy lamb section last week included 50.9kgs at €157/hd, with better 53kgs making €154-155/hd, while 50.5kgs made up to €150/hd.

In the mid section 44.4kgs sold to €145/hd, with 45.5kgs and 47kgs both seeing a top of €148/hd. On the store side 40.3-42.3kgs made €134-136/hd, with 36-38kgs peaking at €121-138/hd while 34.5kgs made €113/hd.

Cast ewes sold for €80-196/hd.

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