Unexplained Fall In Sheep Price

Livestock Price Coordinator for the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), John Cleary, has said that games are being played by factories as prices being quoted are differing greatly from prices being paid out despite a real need for top quality cattle.

Livestock Price Coordinator for the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), John Cleary, has said that games are being played by factories as prices being quoted are differing greatly from prices being paid out despite a real need for top quality cattle.

For a good mix of steers, the price being quoted is €3.55 - 60/kg but there are reports of as much as €3.65 - €3.70/kg being paid out for a good mix. Heifers are trading well and the price being quoted is €3.65 with an extra .5c to .10c available on top of base prices for some cattle. For a mix of U and R grade bulls, the going price is €3.65 - €3.70/kg. Cows are continuing to trade well and for a mix of P and U grades the prices are €3.00/kg up to €3.40/kg. This is the same as last week’s quote.

On this week’s trade, Mr. Cleary said: “There is a real difference in prices this week on what’s being quoted and what’s actually available. From what I’m hearing on the ground is that factories are trying to influence the trade for later in the year so they are pulling quoted prices now in August. However, there is a real shortage of prime cattle in the factories across the country. From what’s being said in factories is that only the big farmers are getting the best prices. The farmer that’s coming in with a load or half load of animals or that is only coming in a with a few cattle every few months isn’t getting anything like the prices that are being given to the big sellers. If a farmer is sure of the quality of their animal then they need to push hard for better prices as they are available and factories are paying higher than what’s being quoted.”

Despite having had a solid month of prices, sheep have slipped back a small bit this week with no real explanation for it. After hovering around the €5.00/kg for the best part of five or six weeks, lamb prices dropped to €4.70/kg this week while ewes are remained steady again this week at €4.00/kg.

Commenting on the sheep trade, Mr. Cleary said: “There is no real reason for the drop in sheep prices this week. The line was drawn in the sand at €5.00/kg after a major fall in June and we shouldn’t be dipping under that price again. €5.00/kg needs to be the mark at the least. I’ll be expecting prices to shoot up again in the factories in the coming weeks so maybe now is a time to hold tight and see how the trade develops while also paying close attention to the marts as they are performing well at present. There are many options on the table for the sheep farmer.”