Imports of Northern lambs for slaughter up 56%

The strengthening of euro against sterling has increased demand for Northern Ireland lambs from processors in the Republic, according to latest figures from the LMC in Northern Ireland.

Some 25,944 sheep exported from the North to Southern plants for direct slaughter during compared to 16,554 sheep during July 2016. This accounts for a 56.7% increase year on year.

However, the LMC does say that it should be noted that exports to the Republic were subdued last summer due to issues around the labelling of lambs born in the North but killed in the South. These issues have since been resolved.

The major processors in Northern Ireland have reported strong supplies of lambs available for slaughter to meet demand with lamb throughput in NI plants during July 2016 totalling 41,873 head. This was a 13.9% decrease on the 48,641 lambs killed in NI plants during July 2015.

Meanwhile, in the Republic the sheep trade strengthened for the week ending August 12 on the back of stronger demand and a decrease in supplies, according to Bord Bia.

It says base quotes for lamb were generally making around €4.60/kg to €4.70/kg with selected lots gaining higher returns while prices for culled ewes were generally making around €2.30/kg to €2.40/kg.

Supplies at sheep export meat plants for the week ending August 7 were standing at almost 45,000 head which was down significantly on the corresponding week in 2015.

So far this year, cumulative supplies are up 2% or over 34,000 head on year previous levels at 1.47 million head.

Key Markets

In Britain, Bord Bia says an uplift in the trade was reported on the back of a decrease in supply coupled with a rise in demand from key export markets. The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €4.98/kg dw during the week.

Meanwhile, in France Bord Bia says an increase in trade has been reported this week on the back of higher demand due to the national holiday coupled with improved weather.

It says retail promotions are plentiful, focusing mainly on imported and domestically produced product and were taking place mainly on steaks, legs and chops.

Grade 1 lamb in Rungis was making around €5.41/kg (DW incl VAT) towards the end of the week.