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Strong demand and tight supplies drive sheep trade

IFA Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said market conditions for sheep meat are favourable, underpinned by strong supermarket performance, tight supplies and reduced volumes of imported lamb in our key markets.

Hoggets are making €7.70 to €8.00/kg, spring lamb €8.30/kg, with higher deals available and concessions on weights. 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,” Sean 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.

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.

Sean Dennehy noted prices in the UK and throughout the EU are strong. He added that 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.

Concluding, he urged farmers to sell hard in this positive market environment, while moving lambs and hoggets as they become fit to maximise returns.