Challenging market conditions are possible early next year, due to the potential of increased lamb product at home, as well as from the UK and New Zealand.

Looking to 2023, Seamus McMenamin, Bord Bia sheepmeat and livestock sector manager, said that a forecasted increase in the lamb crop in 2022, combined with lower lamb throughput since June, is indicating a larger carryover of hoggets for processing into spring 2023.

“Consumers in our key export markets are continuing to be impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and this is in turn is impacting demand for lamb,” he said.

“Therefore, weaker consumer demand and a potential increase in sheepmeat production in both Ireland and the UK, and the potential for more New Zealand product reaching the EU, could contribute to challenging market conditions early next year.”

Commenting on the sheep trade at present, McMenamin added that demand for lamb is slowing.

“There has also been some downward pressure on the lamb trade with demand for Christmas orders coming to an end combined with increasing supplies of lambs available for processing,” he said.

Seamus said that average carcass weights are also back year-on-year – something he told Agriland earlier in the year – and that processors have reported an increased number of under-finished lambs passing through the system.

This, he said, can be attributed to difficult grass supply due to a dry spell earlier in the year and the less concentrates being fed due to rapid increase in price.