The sheep trade improved this week due to tighter numbers and demand remaining relatively steady, according to Bord Bia.

Base quotes for lambs were generally making between €4.50-4.70/kg while higher quotes were reported for selected lots, cull ewes made €2.50-2.60/kg, there was also a buoyant store trade reported across the marts.

Export Markets

Despite this slight improvement in prices, the trade across the main export markets remains mixed, according to Bord Bia.

There has been some uplift in the sheep trade in Britain on the back of seasonal demand coupled with tightening numbers, with Brittish lambs currently making the equivalent of around €4.92/kg dead weight this week.

The trade in France remains slow on the back of reduced demand with small volumes of lamb reported on the market.

According to Bord Bia, this reduced demand has resulted in more penalties for over fat and heavier lambs in Rungis.

Bord Bia says promotions are focused on shoulders, chops and legs of lamb and Grade 1 Irish lamb was making €4.67/kg dead weight including VAT.

National Sheep Kill

The cumulative throughput of sheep at sheepmeat export plants has dropped by 1%, figures from the Department of Agriculture show, as total throughput currently stands at 2.2m head.

As of the week ending November 8, 2015, the cumulative national sheep kill was back by 15,486 head on the corresponding period in 2014.

Total spring lamb throughput to Irish export plants has increased by 6% or 68159 head to November 8, 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.

The cumulative number of hoggets (2014 born lambs) going to factories have decreased on 2014 levels by 41,253 head, with 680,372 slaughtered to date in 2015.

There has also been a 13% reduction in the total cast ewe and ram kill, with 40,919 fewer of these animals going to meat export plants in 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.