The value of Kildare Chilling in inserting competition in to the sheep trade is evident this week, with the plant holding its base quotes.

The base quote for hoggets is €7.20/kg plus the plant’s 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus, while the base price quoted for lambs is €7.90/kg plus the 10c/kg QA bonus.

Reports indicate that other plants have moved to reduce quotes, opening up a significant differential of up to 40c/kg between prices offered by Kildare and other competing plants.

Base quotes for hoggets have fallen back to €7/kg in a couple of other plants, with lambs taking a greater hit and quoted from €7.50/kg to €7.60/kg. This equates to €6 to €8 per head on a typical 20kg lamb carcase.

The success of plants in reducing sheep prices will be influenced by the level of supplies coming on hand in the early part of the week and the response of producers trading in plants outside of Kildare Chilling.

Ewe quotes are unchanged, with a significant differential remaining between plants. Quotes in the main factories range from €3.30/kg to €3.50/kg, with prices in smaller plants rising to €3.60/kg to €3.80/kg.

Mart trade

A vibrant trade remains in mart sales for heavy-fleshed ewes capable of delivering a well-conformed carcase.

This should provide a good alternative outlet for producers struggling to negotiate with factories or where carcase weights are likely to exceed weight limits ranging from 40kg to 45kg.