Strong supermarket performance, tight supplies, and reduced volumes of imported lamb in Ireland’s key markets are driving the sheep trade in April 2021.
That is according to IFA sheep chairman, Sean Dennehy, who said market conditions for sheep meat are “favourable”.
He reported that factories are quoting between €7.70 to €8.00/kg for hoggets. Meanwhile, he said spring lambs are generally selling to €8.30/kg, with “higher deals available and concessions on weights”.
On the other hand, cull ewes are ranging from €3.10/kg to €3.50/kg.
“Demand from factory agents and wholesalers is strong in the marts, with prices particularly for heavier lambs and cull ewes above what some factories are offering,” he said.
Total lamb imports to the EU 27 and the UK from New Zealand are down 23% year on year, with EU 27 down 27% and the UK down 20%. The sales of lamb in supermarkets continues to perform strongly, increasing in volume and value by 12% and 6% respectively for the latest 12-week period.
According to the IFA official, sheepmeat supplies are “tight”. Last week’s kill at just under 48,000 was 3,000 below the corresponding week in 2020, with the total numbers processed this year almost 60,000 below last year’s levels.
Sheep trade in April 2021 in EU and UK
Dennehy said prices in the UK and throughout the EU are strong. Therefore, he believes there is“no basis for negative market comment from factories”.
“Numbers are tight, demand is strong, imports to the EU and the UK are low, and consumer demand for lamb in the supermarkets continues to increase.
Dennehy advises farmers to “sell hard in this positive market environment” while moving lambs and hoggets as they become fit to maximise returns.
Farmers support climate action
Meanwhile, the farm group’s leader has said that “farmers and rural Ireland support climate action”.
However, he believes proposed changes arising from the new Climate Action Bill must be agreed upon with farmers.
“There are several important provisions in the new Climate Bill that policymakers will have to consider, which will protect the farming sector,” commented the farm leader.
The farm group said it has been “engaging at all levels to ensure that farming is treated fairly in the climate action process”.