IFA National Sheep Chairman James Murphy said the lamb trade remains very solid with factories paying €4.85 to €4.95/kg to get lambs. He said €4.90/kg up to 22kg carcase weight was widely available this week.
James Murphy said the mart trade was also strong with top prices for top quality finished and store lambs. In addition, he said the breeding sales got off to a very positive start, again with significant premiums for quality breeding stock.
At the sales this week breeding ewe lambs were making up to €150 per head and ewe hoggets making over €200 per head. Store lambs were making from €2/kg to €2.40/kg in places, keeping a very strong bottom under the finished lamb trade for factory buyers.
James Murphy said it was positive to see that farmers were getting rewarded for quality at the marts. It is clear farmers who are selecting lambs well for sale are getting a real reward in the price. Clean quality store lambs are making up to €10 per head of a price premium.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said the first of the ewe lambs from the hills were also coming out earlier this year and meeting a very good trade. Demand is very strong.
On the finished lamb side, James Murphy said farmers and some producer groups are also negotiating an additional bonus for quality assurance. Some producer groups are getting €2/lamb extra for quality assurance and most factories are prepared to pay a minimum of 6c/kg extra on the price.