Last week’s sheep kill (week ending May 21) witnessed a very slight decrease on the week prior, but saw spring lamb throughput overtake hoggets for the first time this year.

Supplies of hoggets have been plummeting ever since the end of Ramadan, and all the while spring lambs have been steadily rising.

Despite spring lamb supplies increasing, numbers are still well back on last year and with hogget numbers continuing to fall fast, it further implies how tight supplies are at present.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) show that 48,801 sheep were processed last week, representing a very small decrease of 242 head from the week before.

The number of hoggets, as mentioned, continue to decline quite rapidly, with 16,563 head slaughtered last week – a decrease of 6,772 head from the week prior.

Ewe and ram throughput edged back, witnessing a small decrease last week of 301 head and totalling 6,309 head.

However, spring lamb supplies continue to rise, totalling 25,924 last week, which represents an increase of 6,830 head on the previous week.

Week-on-week sheep kill (week ending May 21):

  • Hoggets: 16,563 head (-6,772 or -29.02%);
  • Ewes and rams: 6,309 head (-301 or -4.55%);
  • Spring lambs: 25,924 head (+6,830 or +30.24%);
  • Total: 48,801 head (-242 or -0.49%).

Sheep kill to date

Taking a look at this year’s throughput figures to date, 1,044,184 sheep have been processed so far.

Of that figure, 852,103 have been hoggets, 87,121 were spring lambs, with the rest made up of ewes and rams (104,907) and a small portion of light lambs (53 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 142,000 head; 171,559 more hoggets have been processed, while 6,127 fewer ewes and rams have been slaughtered.

Spring lamb throughput remains down on this time last year by over 23,000 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending May 21):

  • Hoggets/lambs: 852,103 head (+171,559 or +25%);
  • Ewes and rams: 104,907 head (-6,127 or -6%);
  • Spring lambs: 87,121 head (-23,046 or -21%);
  • Total: 1,044,184 head (+142,341 or +16%).