IFA national sheep committee chairman, Sean Dennehy, has urged farmers to “sell hard” as hogget prices continue to creep upwards.
He said factories are “freely paying” €7.30kg to €7.50/kg, with “higher prices available” to secure supplies to meet the strong market demand.
“Deals on weight to 24kgs are also on offer from factories as they try to secure numbers to fill orders.”
Dennehy highlighted that supplies are a long way short of demand and prices are increasing in the “positive and rising” market.
He reported that cull ewe prices are ranging from €2.90 to €3.20/kg, in general.
In other news, IFA national livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, has reported that beef prices are strengthening.
He noted that steers are making €3.80/kg with a base of €3.85/kg for heifers this week. Golden reported higher deals for larger and specialist lots.
Furthermore, the cow trade also strengthened this week, ranging from €3.00/kg to €3.50/kg. Some plants are paying some higher prices, he added.
Besides, young bulls are making €3.65 to €3.95/kg – depending on grade.
He said prices in livestock marts for finished and forward store cattle and cows are “strong”, providing a “real competitive alternative” for some farmers.
Vaccine roll-out and foodservice sector
Golden outlined market conditions are strong for beef and are expected to improve, supplies of cattle are tight and factories must “return the full value of the marketplace in increased beef prices”.
He said the Easter demand and the returning foodservice sector in the UK and throughout the EU as vaccines are rolled out will further drive demand for beef.
Golden added that the strong performance of beef in supermarkets is reflecting changes in consumer purchasing habits.
Predictions for the year are of tight supplies of finished cattle in Ireland, the UK and the EU. He believes this creates “favourable” market conditions for Irish beef, which must be reflected in prices.