This week’s sheep trade has started at a frantic pace, with agents working hard over the weekend to line up higher numbers for the start of the week.

The appetite among factories is strong ahead of the Eid al-Adha festival, which takes place from Monday 19 July to Friday 23 July.

The main demand is at the start of the festival and, as such, factories will be busiest this week, but may also remain active until next Monday and possibly Tuesday, depending on the level of orders they receive.

Variation in price received

There is quite a bit of variation in prices paid. The general price being reported is in the region of €6.50/kg.

This tallies in with Kildare Chilling’s base quote of €6.40/kg plus 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus.

The two Irish Country Meats plants also increased quotes by 10c/kg since the end of last week and are now quoting €6.30/kg plus 10c/kg QA and 5c/kg higher for groups.

At the lower end of the market, there are plants and wholesale outlets reported as trying to purchase lambs at a price of €6.30/kg to €6.35/kg.

Shop around

Producers being offered these prices should note the higher prices available and shop around to ensure they are receiving the best price available.

At the top of the market, groups and regular sellers are pushing prices to €6.60/kg to €6.65/kg, with reports of €6.70/kg being paid at the top end of the market for large batches.

A number of factories have started to concentrate on lambs only or will do so in the next day or two.

This leaves ewe quotes unchanged, with the general run of quotes ranging from €3.40/kg to €3.50/kg and rising to €3.60/kg to €3.70/kg in isolated cases for large lots.

Agents specialising in the live trade are also active for large-framed ewes at present, with more reports in recent days of heavy fleshed ewes weighing upwards of 95kg selling from €160 to €190 and as high as €210 to €220 on occasion.