The national sheep kill is running 8,219 head behind 2014 levels, the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

For the week ending October 25, 2015 some 2.119m sheep went to Irish factories.

This is back 8,219 head from the 2.127m head that went through at the corresponding period in 2014.

The weekly sheep kill is 1,159 head ahead of the corresponding week last year with 57, 542 head being slaughtered last week.

Looking at the throughput of lambs/hoggets to Irish factories last week, only 90 head were slaughtered compared to the 1,404 head that were slaughtered this time last year.

Cumulatively, the lambs/hoggets throughput last week stood 38,617 head behind the 677,569 head that were slaughtered at the corresponding period in 2014.

The spring lamb kill last week stood at 49,883 head, this is up 3,312 head on the corresponding period last year, the figures show.

Cumulatively the spring lamb kill is 73,961 head ahead of last year.

The ewe and ram kill last week stood 743 head behind last year at 7,567 head. Cumulatively the ewe and ram kill is 42,129 head behind 2014 levels at 252,914 head.

Sheep kill,

Image: Department of Agriculture

Northern lambs slaughtered in the Republic falls below 40%

The numbers of lambs exported live from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland for direct slaughter have moved back to 2014 levels following falls earlier in the year, AHDB has said.

The organisation for the English beef and sheep industry (AHDB) has said that in 2014, 43% of the North’s lambs were exported south of the border for slaughter.

According to AHDB this has now fallen below 40% in 2015 to date.

AHDB attributes a decline in live lamb exports from Northern Ireland to the Republic in the first half of 2015 to new rules for the labelling of meat that came into effect in April.

The new legislation required meat originating in Northern Ireland and slaughtered in Republic to be labelled as born in the UK, slaughtered in the Republic.