Factories have had success in pulling prices further over the last week, with base quotes for lambs falling by 30c/kg to 50c/kg, while base quotes for hoggets have fallen from 80c/kg to upwards of €1/kg.

Base quotes listed in the quotes table for Thursday are few and far between, with Kildare Chilling not quoting, along with long-standing absentees Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kepak Athleague.

The two Irish Country Meats (ICM) plants in Camolin and Navan are quoting a base of €8.80/kg plus 20c/kg quality assurance (QA) payment for lambs, while Ballon Meats is leading the quotes with an all-in quote of €9.20/kg.

Reports indicate that plants not quoting are offering opening quotes of €9/kg for QA lamb.

Top prices are in the region of €9.10/kg to €9.20/kg, with producer groups voicing greater concerns regarding visibility on official quotes.

The hogget quote in ICM for Thursday is €8/kg plus 20c/kg QA.

Reports indicate that competing plants have reduced their base quote by upwards of €1/kg over the last week and are offering opening base quotes of €7.50/kg, but willing to pay upwards of €8/kg for hoggets meeting their required spec.

The number of sheep in the market remains relatively tight and this is reflected in last week’s kill recorded at just 42,826 head. This represents a fall of over 11,300 head on the corresponding week in 2023.

Throughput for the year to date is now running over 132,000 head lower, with a significant portion of this shortfall occurring in the last six to eight weeks.

Hogget throughput of 15,695 head was largely on par with the corresponding week in 2023, but lamb throughput of 22,899 head was some 8,820 or 28% lower. The ewe and ram kill of 4,221 head was also 30% lower year on year.

Factory appetite is set to increase significantly next week ahead of the Islamic religious festival of Eid al-Adha (16 to 20 June).

The kill in the week leading into the festival hit 70,000 head in 2023, which shows the jump in numbers required.

Reports indicate that some specialist finishers have very large numbers on hand for the festival, which will help satisfy the spike in demand.

It is likely that it could be last chance saloon for farmers with small numbers of hoggets to negotiate a reasonable price.

Northern trade

Factories in Northern Ireland have pulled base quotes by a massive 70p/kg for lambs on last week.

Base quotes are in the region of £7.10/kg (€8.35/kg), but reports indicate factory agents are struggling to operate and are having to pay considerably higher, with talk of prices rising to £7.30/kg to £7.50/kg to secure sales.

According to the AHDB, British lamb prices reduced by 43p/kg last week to average £8.50/kg (€9.99/kg), while hoggets fell by 23p/kg to £7.94/kg (€9.33/kg).