Kilkenny sheep farmers disappointed at losing the Bob O'Keeffe Cup on Sunday will find no consolation in the lamb quotes today.
Quotes have dropped by 10-20c/kg, with most of the plants at the higher end of the reduction. Speaking to factory agents, I did, however, get the feeling that they expected the trade to settle a bit as the week progresses. Time will tell.
Dawn Ballyhaunis tops the table today, down 10c/kg to a base quote of 480c/kg plus the 6c/kg bonus.
Kildare Chilling's quote of 480c/kg plus the double bonus was for yesterday only.
Moyvalley is offering an all-in quote of 475c/kg, while the ICM plants and Kepak Hacketstown are all quoting 470c/kg plus 6c/kg.
Kepak Athleague is on 470c/kg. Commenting on the trade, IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said farmers were digging in on both price and weight.
Factories were paying up to 490c/kg and up to 21kg to secure stock, he maintained, adding that top prices of up to 500c/kg including bonuses were being paid.
Cull ewes show no change as the ICM plants, Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kildare Chilling remain on a quote of 230c/kg. Kepak Hacketstown are on 225c/kg while 220c/kg is the figure from Kepak Athleague.
Meanwhile, Bord Bia reported that the sheep trade eased over the past week, reflecting stronger domestic supplies, combined with demand on key export markets being sluggish.
Quotes for lambs started off the week at up to €5.10/kg, before finishing the week on around €4.90/kg. Demand for cull ewes remained firm, with quotes still at €2.20-2.30kg.
To date, sheep supplies are running 5pc higher at 977,500 head, compared to last year's levels.
In the UK, despite low demand levels from the French market, the domestic trade held up in response to some favourable exchange rate movement.
By the weekend, new season lambs at live markets across Great Britain were making the equivalent of around €5.25/kg.
In France, a steady supply of competitively priced Spanish and Portuguese lambs on the market continue to undermine demand for UK and Irish product.
Prices for Irish grade 1 Spring lamb were reportedly making up to €5.37/kg incl VAT by the end of the week.
For the moment, a steady supply of French lacaune lamb on the market remains evident, although this supply is expected to weaken in the coming weeks.
At the marts, a number of sales yards reported lamb prices falling by anything from €2-7/hd.
This was due to downward pressure on prices in the factories, as well as a higher number of sheep on offer.
Quality ewe hoggets were making up to and more than €150/hd, while aged ewes for breeding made up to €150. Well-fleshed cull ewes generally sold for €90-110/hd.
Lamb prices fell by €4-6/hd at Fermoy mart yesterday, where heavy lambs sold for €47-55 with their weight and lighter lambs sold for €40-47 over the €/kg.
Lambs were back by €2-3/hd at Athenry, selling for €44-55 over their weight. Light lambs sold for €40-50 over.
Cull ewes sold for €60-110.
Prices for butcher lambs in Kilkenny yesterday fell by €2-4/hd to €50-56 over the weight.
The top price paid was €104/hd for a pen of lambs weighing 49kg. Factory lamb prices fell by €5/hd and sold for €48-55 over.
Cull ewes at Mountbellew mart sold for €75-114, while a large number of store lambs sold for €72-93. Heavier lots sold for €50 with their weight. Ewe hoggets varied in price from €120-144.
Factory lambs at Carnew mart were back by €2/hd while a large entry of store lambs saw prices easier €5-7/hd. Well-fleshed lots made €48-55 over the weight, while stores sold for €30-47 over.
Ewe hoggets made €120-155, while older ewes for breeding made from €100-150/hd.
At Baltinglass mart, lambs of 40-45kg sold for €85-94, while heavier types topped out at €98/hd. Store lambs of 30-37kg made up to €87/hd.
At Ballymote mart, lambs sold made up to €52 over the €/kg and well-fleshed cull ewes made from €90-110 each.
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