Factory agents are keen to maximise lamb throughput, but are reluctant to raise quotes.

Base quotes remain at €6.00/kg in the two Irish Country Meats plants and €6.20/kg in Kildare Chilling and Ballon Meats.

Reports indicate base quotes in plants not quoting are €6.05/kg to €6.10/kg.

Prices paid to individual producers with lower negotiating power range from €6.20/kg to €6.30/kg.

Producers trading through groups or possessing greater selling power are securing returns of €6.40/kg to €6.50/kg, with some deals exceeding this range when allowances on transport costs are factored into the equation.

All plants have moved to 21.5kg carcase weight. There are various reports of some sellers negotiating an extra 0.5kg carcase weight. This is typically in wholesale outlets. Where it is being offered in other plants, it is typically offered to try to entice farmers to move lambs at a lower price.

Kill figures

Last week’s kill figure recovered about half the reduction from the previous week, with throughput of 64,176 head, up 3,467 on the week previous.

This compares with 61,983 head for the corresponding week in 2021.

Year-to-date throughput surpassed the 2m mark last week and is running 125,368 head higher.

This figure is being underpinned by over 200,000 more hoggets (897,886) slaughtered in the first half of the year, with lamb throughput of 873,718 head running 84,363 lower.

The ewe and ram kill remains at a much higher level of 13,219 head for the week gone by. To put this in context, throughput for the comparable week in 2021 was recorded at 9,498 head.

Ewe quotes and prices are unchanged and continue to record a wide differential.

Prices at the lower end of the market range from €3.25/kg to €3.40/kg, with sellers with greater negotiating power securing returns rising to €3.70/kg and higher in cases for ewes delivered to a tight specification.

Northern trade

Base quotes in Northern plants are unchanged at £4.95/kg.

The sterling to euro exchange rate continues to fluctuate and at Wednesday afternoon’s rate of 87.4p to the euro, this equates to €5.66/kg.

A high percentage of lambs are trading from upwards of £5.00/kg, with regular sellers commanding 5p/kg to 15p/kg higher prices.

The number of sheep exported from Northern Ireland for direct slaughter in plants in Ireland increased marginally by over 250 head to reach 7,465.

The total number of sheep moving south for direct slaughter is running at 220,557 head, which is 14,967 higher than in 2021.

The latest Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) price report shows last week’s average price recorded at £5.24/kg (€5.99/kg), down 4.1p/kg on the week.

However, reports indicate that prices have strengthened this week and are upwards of £5.30/kg.