Tight supplies and strong market demand are driving on lamb prices this week, according to IFA sheep committee chairman Sean Dennehy.
He said supermarket lamb sales have performed strongly throughout the COVID-19 controls, with volumes and prices up. This trend is expected to continue as the restrictions continue.
Difference of up to 15c/kg between factories
Lambs are “freely” making €6.10/kg, with deals to €6.25/kg available at this stage of the week. Weights to 23kgs are also available. Cull ewes are making €3-€3.10/kg.
The IFA sheep chairman said farmers should continue to sell lambs as they become fit, but to sell hard and maximise returns with up to 15c/kg of a difference in prices offered by factories.
Dennehy said the strong kill of lambs in 2020, in particular in the later weeks of the year, will impact on supplies of factory lambs that are available. Combined with the strong market performance of lamb, this must be reflected in prices to farmers.
A combination of tight supplies and strong supermarket demand is driving beef prices in Ireland, according to IFA national livestock chairman, Brendan Golden.
He noted prices in the UK increased by the equivalent of 4c/kg in the run into Christmas.
“Supermarket sales of beef throughout the COVID-19 restrictions have performed well, with strong volume and price increases recorded for 2020, a situation that is likely to continue.”
Last year’s kill came in at over 60,000 head more than the 2019 levels, when predictions were for a reduction of in the region of 50,000 head.
This earlier movement of animals in 2019, he added, is likely to have a significant impact on numbers of slaughter fit cattle in the coming weeks and months.
Beef prices Ireland
He said prices for steers have moved to a base of €3.75/kg with heifers selling off a base of €3.80/kg.
Cow prices have also strengthened and are ranging from €2.90/kg to €3.40/kg with deals being done for select lots of younger and better-quality cows.
Furthermore, the young bull trade has also moved on with R/U grading bulls making €3.70 to €3.80/kg.