Sheep kill jumps 21% as an extra 8,000 spring lambs head for slaughter

The latest figures from the Department of Agriculture show a 21% rise in the week-on-week sheep kill for the week ending May 15.

According to the Department’s sheep kill database, just over 49,000 sheep were slaughtered in export approved sheepmeat plants last week, up 8,607 head on the week before.

The majority of this increase occurred as spring lamb throughput increased massively last week, up 8,217 head or 56% on the week before.

Speaking to Agriland recently, Declan Fennell, Sheepmeat Sector Manager with Bord Bia said that May is a transition month, when spring lamb throughput increases and the hogget supply tightens.

But, figures from the Department of Agriculture show that the hogget kill increased slightly last week, rising by 1.6% or 315 head.

Official figures also show a small increase in cast ewe and ram throughput, with the cast kill up by 1.3% or 85 head.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: +315 head (+1.6%)
  • Spring lambs: +8,217 head (+56%)
  • Ewes and rams: +1.3% head (+85 head)
  • Total: +8,607 head (+21%)
Source: Department of Agriculture
Source: Department of Agriculture

Cumulative sheep kill

Figures from the Department of Agriculture also show that there has been a higher number of sheep slaughtered so far this year.

To the week ending May 15, an additional 54,649 sheep have been slaughtered in Irish factories, 7% more than the same period in 2015.

The cumulative supply of hoggets is 6%, while and extra 26,745 ewes and rams have been slaughtered compared to the corresponding time in 2015.

However, spring lamb throughput continues to lag behind 2015 levels, down 9% or 6,571 head so far this year.