Factories have moved to try to take greater control of the lamb trade and reduce prices with quotes for Monday falling by 30c/kg to 50c/kg.

The move comes following peak buying for the Islamic religious festival of Eid al-Adha which takes place from 16 to 20 June.

Reports indicate that the two Irish Country Meats plants in Camolin and Navan notified producer groups offering a base of €8.50/kg plus 20c/kg quality assurance (QA) payment for lambs, down 30c/kg, and €7.50/kg plus 20c/kg QA for hoggets, down 50c/kg.

While Kepak is reported as reducing its base quote by 50c/kg to €8.35/kg plus 15c/kg QA - it is not quoting for hoggets.

If successful, it will witness the value of a 21kg carcase fall by €6 to €10.50.

Key export markets

The likelihood of the price reduction gaining traction and, in particular, the prospect of further seasonal cuts will be strongly influenced by the number of lambs coming on stream and price trends in key export markets.

Numbers are likely to fall back significantly this week following a big push to get sheep drafted for Eid al-Adha. Base quotes for lambs are running 80c/kg to 90c/kg ahead of the corresponding period in 2023, or €17 to €19 on a typical 21kg carcase. Hogget quotes are running about 50c/kg to 65c/kg higher or €11.50 to €15 on a 23kg carcase.

Factories concentrated mainly on lambs and hoggets last week with less interest in ewes. Opening quotes for ewes are in the region of €4/kg to €4.10/kg with top prices 10c/kg to 20c/kg higher.