The supply of lambs and hoggets this year is running over 18,000 head behind the same period in 2024.

With the supply of sheep reducing by 6,911 head since last week, the overall throughput of sheep so far this year is 19,392 head lower, the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) have shown.

This tighter supply is perhaps reflected in the upward movement in prices in the hogget trade, as the comparisons of this week’s factory quotes compared to 12-months-ago indicate that base prices for hoggets have increased by up to €1.20/kg in a year.

Base quotes for hoggets are now ranging from €7.00/kg to €7.20/kg, while quality assured (QA) hoggets are ranging from €7.20/kg to €7.30/kg.

The prices in the trade continue to be in a better position than the same week in 2023, when base prices stood at €5.80/kg to €6.10/kg.

The table below gives an overview of the sheep kill for week 7 (ending Sunday, February 18) and the cumulative kill to date this year, compared to the same time period in 2023.

week 7
2024 cumulative2023 weekly2023 cumulativeWeekly
Cumulative difference24 vs. 23 % weekly difference24 vs. 23 % cumulative difference
Spring lambs08,5710008,571
Ewes and rams4,79335,1545,72144,484-928-9,330-16%-21%
Light lambs018222-2-4–100%-18%
Source: DAFM

The overall supply is behind by 19,392 head this year when compared to the same period last year.

A lower supply of lambs/hoggets (-18,629 head) and ewes and rams (-9,330 head) contributes to this figure.

Source: DAFM

Taking a look at this year’s throughput figures to date, 348,286 sheep have been processed so far.

Of that figure, 304,543 have been lambs/hoggets, 8,571 were spring lambs, with the rest made up of ewes and rams (35,154), and a small portion of light lambs (18).