The sheep trade remains unchanged with base quotes at the start of this week ranging from €6.00/kg to €6.20/kg. When quality assurance (QA) payments of 10c/kg to 20c/kg are factored in to the equation this leaves QA lambs trading from €6.20/kg to €6.30/kg. Lambs traded through producer groups and securing conformation bonuses or from producers with greater negotiating power are trading from €6.30/kg to €6.40/kg.

The ewe trade is steady to slightly easier in a couple of plants. Quotes in the five largest factories range from €2.60/kg to €2.90/kg, with the low quote of €2.60/kg part of Kildare Chilling’s new quoting system for ewes.

Fleshed ewes weighing from 25kg to 34kg are quoted at €2.60/kg with heavier carcase ewes ranging from 35kg to 40kg quoted at €2.90/kg. Quotes in other plants are in the region of €2.80/kg although reports indicate one plant in the west is offering an opening quote of €2.65/kg for ewes. Plants or abattoirs specialising in the ewe trade, such as Ballon Meats, are quoting €3.30/kg to €3.40/kg for ewes.

Global update

The latest Bord Bia sheep price dashboard update shows a continued wide differential between Farmgate prices paid in Europe and further afield in Australia and New Zealand. French lamb prices were top of the prices table for the week of 9 September 2023 at a price of €8/kg, similar to the corresponding period in 2022.

Spanish lamb prices have been trending much higher in recent years and at an average of €7.41/kg are 20c/kg ahead of 2022. British lamb prices are reported at €6.40/kg with Irish lamb prices averaging €6.18/kg excluding the 5% vat payment. This is ahead of Northern Ireland at €6.03/kg with prices there running over 40c/kg higher year-on-year.

In sharp contrast, Australian lamb prices remain on the floor at an average of just €2.71/kg. This is €2.45/kg lower than the corresponding period in 2022. New Zealand lamb prices are over €1/kg higher at an average of €3.83/kg. This is €2/kg lower than 12 months ago.