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HomeFarming NewsSheep trade: Farmers’ sights now on €7.00/kg target
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Sheep trade: Farmers’ sights now on €7.00/kg target

Strong market demand and tight supplies have pushed lamb prices up by 30c/kg over the past week.

That is according to IFA national sheep chairman, Sean Dennehy, who said factories are “struggling” to match supplies with market demand.

Lamb prices up 

He said lambs are making €6.70/kg to €6.80/kg, with weights of 22.5kgs and 23kgs offered.

Dennehy reported that higher deals are available for groups and larger lots. Cull ewes are making €3.00/kg to €3.30/kg, in general.

Dennehy said some lambs bought by factories are coming in at the equivalent of €6.90/kg, with “farmers’ sights now on the €7.00/kg target”.

“Good quality fleshed lambs are very scarce on the ground. Factories have to compete to secure supplies to meet the strong market demand for sheep meat.”

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Besides, he added that the mart trade has also “strengthened” for all types of sheep. There is competition between factory agents, wholesalers and butchers, with factory agents also competing for short keep stores to secure numbers.

Dennehy said the strong store trade ensures farmers are “under no pressure” to offload lambs to factories that will take more feeding.

“This ensures the supply-demand balance remains very much in farmers’ favour,” he pointed out.

The IFA chairman said reduced volumes of sheepmeat imports from outside the EU to our key export markets will underpin the trade for the rest of 2021.

“Combined with the anticipated tight supplies of lamb, this will drive the trade over the coming weeks,” he added.

He advises farmers to “sell hard in this positive market environment” while moving lambs as they become fit to maximise returns.

Beef prices

“Beef prices must move on to keep pace with the significant increases in UK and EU cattle prices.”

That is according to IFA livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, who pointed to the latest Prime Export Benchmark price of €4.19/kg.

He outlined that this is 9c/kg above the prime Irish composite price of €4.10/kg.

Beef prices in our key markets have strengthened consistently over the past number of weeks, up 10c/kg, against a background of static Irish prices.”

Furthermore, the IFA livestock chairman advises farmers to “dig in and sell hard” as prime cattle supplies are “well short” of market demand.

He said the base prices – €4.20/kg for steers and €4.25/kg for heifers – factories are offering to most farmers are lagging behind what the market is returning and must “push on”.

Update on beef prices this week.

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