Last week’s sheep kill (week ending May 14) witnessed an increase on the week prior, as processing at factories moved back to a five-day week after the May Bank Holiday resulted in a four-day kill the week before.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) reveal that 49,043 sheep were processed last week, representing an increase of 1,620 head from the week before.

Despite the extra day’s kill, throughput didn’t bounce back like it normally would after a short week. This goes to show how tight the numbers of hoggets have become and how supplies of spring lambs are slow to come out just yet.

The number of hoggets slaughtered last week came to 23,335 head, which is a decrease of 3,407 head from the week prior.

Ewe and ram throughput however, bounced back, witnessing an increase of 1,161 head and totalling 6,610 head.

Similarly, spring lamb supplies continue to rise, totalling 19,094 last week, which represents an increase of 3,864 head on the previous week.

Week-on-week sheep kill (week ending May 14):

  • Hoggets: 23,335 head (-3,407 or -12.74%);
  • Ewes and rams: 6,610 head (+1,161 or +21.30%);
  • Spring lambs: 19,094 head (+3,864 or +25.37%);
  • Total: 49,043 head (+1,620 or +3.41%).

Sheep kill to date

Taking a look at this year’s throughput figures to date, 995,383 sheep have been processed so far.

Of that figure, 835,540 have been hoggets, 61,197 were spring lambs, with the rest made up of ewes and rams (98,598) and a small portion of light lambs (48 head).

Source: DAFM

If we compare figures to date this year, against the same period in 2021, we can see that the total number of sheep slaughtered is up over 136,438 head; 161,178 more hoggets have been processed, while 5,355 fewer ewes and rams have been slaughtered.

Spring lamb throughput remains down on this time last year by over 19,000 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending May 14):

  • Hoggets/lambs: 835,540 head (+161,178 or +24%);
  • Ewes and rams: 98,598 head (-5,355 or -5%);
  • Spring lambs: 61,197 head (-19,337 or -24%);
  • Total: 995,383 head (+136,438 or +16%).