Update on sheep prices in January 2022
According to newly elected IFA sheep chairman, Kevin Comiskey, factories have moved hogget prices up by 10c/kg this week.
He cited “strong” demand from the food-service sector and tight supplies as the primary reasons for the increase.
Comiskey outlined most hoggets are now making €7.00/kg, with deals of €7.10/kg “on the cards particularly for larger lots”. Furthermore, cull ewes are making between €3.30/kg to €3.50/kg.
Comiskey described plant’s sanctions for overweight lambs as “severe” and “unnecessary”. He said factories must revisit these measures as domestic demand strengthens and staffing issues ease at processing level.
“It is important farmers sell hard in a rising market while moving lambs as they become fit,” he said.
He said the mart trade, where there is “good” competition between butchers and wholesalers, offers an alternative competitive outlet for heavier lambs and, therefore, is one that farmers should consider.
Automated sheep cradle
Meanwhile, a group of Australian farmers and professional shearers have successfully developed an automated sheep cradle to “eliminate the catch and drag”.
They claim that their product, called the Automatic Shearing Delivery Race, results in fewer shearing injuries and greater productivity levels.
According to the designers, sheep come up the race and into a cradle. Then this detaches and brings the sheep to the stand with the touch of a button before tipping them back into position for the shearer.
In summary, the easy-to-transport product delivers the sheep to the shearer and automatically tips it into position.
Shannon Warnest, who has experience shearing in eighteen different countries on various types of shearing trailers, explained:
“We have crutching trailers now, and we really need something to deliver sheep to the shearer.”
“Some of the biggest injuries we have are sustained in the catching pen.”
“We have had some 70 and 80kg ewes through the trial, and they are not going away. I think it is going well.”
“I think that for younger people entering the industry, it would be a lot easier for them to get going. Tipping a sheep over is one of the hardest jobs.”
“If we can minimise that and have them there, then it will be great for the industry. Hopefully, it may even bring some of the older shearers back into as well,” he added.