In August of this year, Irish sheepmeat exports to the UK were back 14% compared to August 2014, figures from AHDB, the organisation for the English beef and sheep industry, show.

In contrast to this, according to AHDB, volumes coming from Spain were up 14%, from Belgium they more than doubled and imports from Chile were up over 65%.

Total volumes of sheepmeat imported to the UK were down 28% to just 4,300t compared to the corresponding period last year.

Sheepmeat volumes down

This fall in overall sheepmeat volumes follows higher levels of production in the UK and falling prices for domestic product, AHDB said.

Shipments of sheepmeat from New Zealand were back 20%, according to AHDB, but with a very significant fall (over 60%) in supplies from the UK’s other main supplier, Australia, still accounted for a greater share of overall imports than in August 2014.

It attributes the fall in imports from Australia to falling production, meaning less is available for export.

Sheep kill 10,000 head ahead of last year

For the week ending October 4, the weekly sheep kill in Ireland was 58,098, back 5% from the 61,274 head slaughtered in the corresponding week last year, figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

Looking at the yearly figures, however, the sheep kill is up 1% with 1,946,449 head going to the factories for the week ending October 4, 2015.

This compares to the 1,935,953 head that were slaughtered at the corresponding period last year.

Throughput of lambs and hoggets remains down with 152 head going to the factories last week compared to 1,541 head that were slaughtered at the same period last year.

This a drop 90% when the two years are compared. On a yearly basis, the number of lambs and hoggets is back 34,524 head.