Christmas demand to continue, sheep weight limits rise

19th December, 2011

Livestock Price Coordinator for the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), John Cleary, has said that while factories had been expected to slow down production in the run up to Christmas, prices have remained solid and it is forecasted that strong prices will continue after the Christmas break.

For a good mix of steers, the base price being quoted is €3.95 – €4.05/kg, a solid increase of 10-15c from last week’s quotes. Factories are quoting €4.05- €4.10/kg for heifers which is an increase on 5c from last week. Demand for heifers is incredibly strong very strong at the minute with factories desperately looking for prime heifer meat. For a mix of U and R grade bulls, the base price is also €4.05 – €4.10/kg. Base price quotes for cows stand at €3.20-€3.65/kg. This is an increase of 10-15c from last week.

Commenting on this week’s trade, Mr. Cleary said: “We had been expecting the factories to be pealing back prices in the week running up to Christmas but that hasn’t been the case with demand outstripping supply. Factories are needing to reach targets so that means the higher prices being paid. There is also word on the ground that factories are already making calls to have stock lined up for next week. This is almost unheard of. The week after Christmas has traditionally been a very slow trading week but factories across the country are looking stock in the run up to the New Year. Again, it’s a good time to have stock. Next week is prime time to bring to the factories if animals are ready.”
 
There is an early Christmas present for sheep farmers. Factories have raised the accepted weight limits on lambs from 23/kg to 23.5/kg. Quotes from factories are lambs up to 23.5kg are €5.15 and ewes are being quoted €3.00 – €3.10. John Cleary said: “It’s great news that the factories have raised limits this week up to 23.5kg, it means that sheep farmers can extra for the quality product they are bringing to factories.”