Factories are eager to resume lamb processing on Tuesday 29 December and replenish stocks in key export markets.
This follows major disruption to last week’s transport network, which curtailed the volume of sheepmeat exported in a number of plants.
The appetite to resume activity on Tuesday is driven by the transport network now relying on volumes moving to the continent by ferry, with the next freight sailing on Tuesday evening.
A high percentage of sheep destined for Tuesday’s kill were already sourced in advance of the Christmas break, but with the UK landbridge remaining closed, some plants were active on Monday to source higher numbers than originally planned.
Kildare Chilling contacted producers on Monday and was offering an improved base of €5.70/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) payment, while the factory’s ewe quote is a base of €2.70/kg plus 10c/kg QA payment.
The factory stresses that this quote is only for Tuesday and that all sheep for Tuesday’s kill must be booked in advance, with an allotted time of arrival.
The general price reported for lambs for Tuesday’s kill across the other plants ranges from €5.70/kg to €5.90/kg, with prices within this scale very much dependent on producer negotiating power and numbers on offer.
There is a high percentage of lambs moving from individual producers within a price range of €5.75/kg to €5.85/kg. Regular sellers and specialist finishers are pushing returns for large consignments to €5.90/kg or marginally higher.
In some cases, there are also deals being negotiated, including an allowance or transport costs or covering all costs for full loads.
Ewes are moving in the main from €2.75/kg to €2.85/kg for medium-sized batches and to individual sellers, while producers with large numbers on hand or agents handling significant numbers are pushing returns to €2.90/kg to €3.00/kg.
Producers with well-fleshed heavy ewes on hand are reminded to check paid carcase weight limits before selling, as these range from 40kg to 45kg/46kg across the different plants.
Factories are optimistic of prices holding steady for this week’s shorter three-day kill but do comment that at present they are reviewing the trade on a day-by-day basis and in particular are keeping a strong focus on any updates on the transport front.