The sheep trade continues to record upward momentum, with spring lamb quotes rising by 5c/kg to 10c/kg this week, while hogget quotes increased anywhere from 10c/kg to 25c/kg.
The latter increase of 20c/kg to 25c/kg was recorded by some producer groups that had witnessed base quotes pulled in recent weeks under the €7/kg mark.
Hogget prices are typically in the region of €7.20/kg to €7.35/kg for quality assured (QA) lots traded in smaller numbers, while specialist finishers and those trading at the top end of the market continue to secure returns of €7.40/kg to €7.50/kg.
Mart managers report they have seen a recovery in throughput, partly due to producers facing challenges in price negotiations and opting to sell live.
Hogget throughput continues to follow a seasonal decline, although last week’s fall-off in throughput of 3,407 head was half of that recorded in the previous week.
With throughput of 23,355 head, hoggets remain the dominant category of sheep in the kill profile, but this is likely to change next week.
Spring lamb throughput increased by 3,864 head last week and stood at 19,094. This is 4,964 head lower than the corresponding week in 2021, while hogget throughput is running 8,435 head higher, with more than 150,000 extra hoggets slaughtered to date in 2022.
Setting the pace
Kildare Chilling continues to set the pace on price, with its base quote of €8.10/kg plus 10c/kg QA bonus an increase of 10c/kg on the week.
Meanwhile, other plants have increased quotes by 5c/kg and range from €7.95/kg to €8.00/kg.
Prices reported at entry level to the market range from €8.10/kg to €8.20/kg depending on the purchasing plants.
Producers with greater negotiating power or trading through groups are securing returns of €8.25/kg to €8.30/kg for lambs delivered to the desired specification, while there are also reports at the top end of the market of €8.35/kg to €8.40/kg being paid.
The ewe trade is solid, with the mart trade continuing to be the best outlet for heavy carcase ewes.
Producers should check the paid carcase weight before moving ewes, with upper carcase weight limits ranging from 40kg to 46kg.
Prices range from €3.80/kg to €4/kg in the main, with agents or those handling big numbers having more success in securing higher prices.
The trade in Northern Ireland is also on an upward trend.
Lamb quotes have increased by 15p/kg to £6.35/kg (€7.51/kg), with producers trading at the upper end of the market securing 5p/kg to 10p/kg higher.
Hogget quotes are up 5p/kg to £5.75/kg (€6.80/kg), but regular sellers are pushing returns to in the region of £5.90/kg to £6.00/kg for large batches of hoggets.