It has been another strong start to the week’s sheep trading.
Regular sellers handling high numbers are gaining more negotiating power with every week that passes.
Reports indicate agents are making contact with producers who they know have significant numbers on hand.
This has given rise to more reports of prices of €6.40/kg to €6.45/kg and some reports of €6.50/kg being paid at the top end of the market.
Base quotes on Monday remain unchanged in the main, ranging from €6.00/kg to €6.20/kg.
The quote of €6.00/kg is largely irrelevant, with some producer groups bemoaning the fact that it is leaving the base price well below the going market rate and negotiating different payment rates.
A high percentage of lambs are trading from €6.25/kg to €6.35/kg, with some groups securing 5c/kg to 10c/kg higher for lambs achieving conformation bonuses and excluding allowances on transport costs.
Producers should also note that some plants have moved to a 22kg paid carcase weight limit, while others are holding tight at 21.5kg.
This is leaving a price differential of €5 to €7 per head between some plants - and even within plants - between producers negotiating the higher price and extra weight and those not in a position to negotiate either.
Northern Ireland trade
The trade in the North is also firming, with £5/kg (€5.89/kg at 85p to the euro) the line in the sand that an increasing number of producers are setting as the bottom price they are willing to accept before agreeing to move sheep. Regular sellers are securing 5p/kg to 10p/kg higher or the equivalent of €6.00/kg.
Northern Ireland farmers do not receive the same flat-rate refund that unregistered farmers in the south receive.
This presently adds 5.6% on the value of produce, with a quote of €6.40/kg equating to €6.04/kg without the VAT top-up.