Last week’s sheep kill (week ending December 11) saw an increase of 7,279 head on the previous week, figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) reveal.

Increases in throughput since the start of the month have been driven by factories working to fill orders for Christmas and continued strong market demand, while the number of finished lambs have also crept up in recent weeks at marts.

Looking at the figures in more detail for the week ending December 11, 59,432 sheep were processed – an increase of 7,279 head from the week before.

The number of lambs slaughtered during the week ending December 11, came to 53,631 head, which is a increase of 7,729 head from the week previous.

Ewe and ram throughput witnessed a decrease of 432 head, totalling 5,762 head for the week ending December 11.

Week-on-week sheep kill (week ending December 11):

  • Hoggets: 36 head (-21 or -36%);
  • Ewes and rams: 5,762 head (-432 or -6.97%);
  • Spring lambs: 53,631 head (+7,729 or +16.83%);
  • Total: 59,432 head (+7,279 or +13.95%).

Sheep kill to date

Taking a look at this year’s throughput figures to date, 2,578,778 sheep have been processed so far.

Of that figure, 698,048 have been hoggets; lambs comprised 1,540,720; with the rest being made up of ewes and rams (339,878).

Source: DAFM

If we compare figures to date this year, against the same period in 2020, we can see that the total number of sheep slaughtered is back by 113,859 head; 93,755 fewer hoggets have been processed; and 25,551 fewer ewes and rams were slaughtered as well.

Spring lamb throughput is up on the same period in 2020 by 5,399 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending December 11):

  • Hoggets: 698,048 head (-93,755 or -12%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,540,720 head (+5,399 or 0%);
  • Ewes and rams: 339,878 head (-25,551 or -7%);
  • Total: 2,578,778 head (-113,859 or -4%).