Last week’s sheep kill (week ending December 4) saw an increase of 2,824 head on the previous week, figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) reveal.

This increase coincided with a rise in factory prices, after factories, the week before, had applied downward pressure on lamb prices.

This saw farmers hold off marketing lambs and saw factories reverse their tactics and increase prices for lambs again – which has coincided with a lift in throughput again.

Looking at the figures in more detail for the week ending December 4, 52,153 sheep were processed – an increase of 2,824 head from the week before.

The number of lambs slaughtered during the week ending December 4, came to 45,902 head, which is a increase of 2,807 head from the week previous.

Ewe and ram throughput witnessed a very marginal increase, totalling 6,194 head for the week ending December 4.

Week-on-week sheep kill (week ending December 4):

  • Hoggets: 576 head (+3 or +5.56%);
  • Ewes and rams: 6,194 head (+14 or +0.22%);
  • Spring lambs: 45,902 head (+2,807 or +6.51%);
  • Total: 52,153 head (+2,824 or +5.72%).

Sheep kill to date

Taking a look at this year’s throughput figures to date, 2,519,346 sheep have been processed so far.

Of that figure, 698,012 have been hoggets; lambs comprised 1,487,089; with the rest being made up of ewes and rams (334,116).

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 119,071 head; 93,499 fewer hoggets have been processed; and 24,073 fewer ewes and rams were slaughtered as well.

Spring lamb throughput is also back on the same period in 2020 by 1,564 head.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending December 4):

  • Hoggets: 698,012 head (-93,499 or -12%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,487,089 head (-1,564 or 0%);
  • Ewes and rams: 334,116 head (-24,073 or -7%);
  • Total: 2,519,346 head (-119,071 or -5%).