Bank holiday weekend sees a drop in sheep kill figures

As expected, sheep kill numbers for the week ending November 6 dropped over 6,000 head, according to Department of Agriculture figures.

This drop came on the back of last week’s bank holiday weekend, which would have seen limited factory operating hours.

The overall figure was mostly attributed to a drop in the number of lambs slaughtered which stood at 42,434 head for the week ending November 6, a drop of 12%.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes

  • Lambs: -5,827 head or -12%
  • Ewes and Rams: -482 head or -5%
  • Total: -6357 head or -11%

This fall is also expected to signal an overall drop in supply if trends from last year’s weekly supply are to be repeated.

Source: DAFM
Source: DAFM

Difficult trade

Trade remains difficult this week in the sheep sector with prices unchanged from the previous week’s drop to a base price of between 430-440c/kg.

With this representing a drop of between €2/3 per head, in many cases since early October some producers may be re-considering their options.

Cumulative kill

The sheep kill for the year-to-date reflects many of the patterns seen last year. The cumulative kill is no different in this regard with overall numbers up by just 1% on last year.

However, within this overall figure there is some notable changes in kill numbers.

Compared to the same period of 2015, there has been 92,362 head less lambs slaughtered this to date this year.

This shortfall is made up for by a combination of hoggets, ewes and rams which have increased to leave the overall total 13,074 head above where it was at this point in 2015.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:

  • Hoggets: +42,491 head or +7%
  • Lambs: -92,362 head or -7%
  • Ewes and Rams: +62,975 head or +24%
  • Total: +13,074 head or +1%

Ewes and rams in particular have seen a huge increase of almost a quarter on the same period in 2015.