Higher prices sees spring lamb throughput jump 25% in a week

Higher factory prices are likely to have played a role in the increase in spring lamb slaughterings seen at sheep factories last week.

Lamb throughput jumped by 25% last week compared to the week before, figures from the Department of Agriculture show, bringing spring lamb supplies for the week to 44,235 head.

Three weeks ago, factories dropped the quoted lamb price to 450c/kg, but over the past two weeks quotes have steadied to 460c/kg.

Weaker factory prices and strong demand for lambs in the sales ring had been blamed for the fall in spring lamb throughput in recent weeks.

But, moves made by lamb buyers to increase factory prices is likely to have encouraged more farmers to send lambs for direct slaughter.

Official figures also show that cast ewe and ram throughput declined by 9% or 825 head last week, while it also shows that a small number of hoggets (100 head) were slaughtered in approved plants last week.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: -65 head (-39%)
  • Spring lambs: +8,791 head (+25%)
  • Ewes and rams: -825 head (-9%)
  • Total: +7,395 head (+18%)

Cumulative spring lamb supplies back 8%

Despite the increase in spring lamb supplies last week, the cumulative number of lamb slaughterings so far this year is down 8%.

Official figures show that 55,439 fewer spring lambs have been slaughtered so far this year, with the kill for the year currently sitting at 635,112 head.

Looking at hogget supplies, an extra 42,516 (+7%) hoggets have been slaughtered in Department approved plants so far this year, while ewe and ram throughput has increased by 36,769 head (+22%).

When all of this differences are considered, the total number of sheep slaughtered so far this year has increased by 23,502 head or 2%.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: +42,516 head (+7%)
  • Spring lambs: -55,439 head (-8%)
  • Ewes and rams: +36,769 head (+22%)
  • Total: +23,502 head (+2%)