The number of sheep processed for the first two weeks of 2021 is up slightly from the same period in 2020, figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) show.

Factory appetite for lambs has been very strong since the turn of the year, with prices reflecting this. Top deals over the past week have topped €6.50-6.60/kg for lambs/hoggets.

Mart managers have been quick to note the strong demand from factory agents for lambs, with the mart trade for lambs pushing on from where it let off before Christmas.

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Looking at the throughput for the first week of 2021, a total of 45,964 lambs/hoggets were processed, which was an increase of 5,571 head from the same period in 2020.

The number of ewes and rams slaughtered was also up on the first week of 2020, with a further 569 processed.

In total, 52,360 sheep were processed in the first week of 2021 (week ending Sunday, January 10), in comparison to the 46,787 processed in the first week of 2020.

Looking at last week’s kill, the number of sheep processed was running behind to what was seen this time last year. In total, 52,433 sheep were processed for the week ending Sunday, January 17, while during the same period last year, 56,934 sheep were slaughtered.

Therefore, for the first two weeks of production this year, a total of 104,793 sheep were processed which is up (+1,070 head) from the 2020 figure of 103,723 head.

Breakdown of the sheep kill for the week ending Sunday, January 17:

  • Lambs/hoggets: 45,634 head;
  • Ewes and rams: 6,798 head;
  • Total: 52,433 head.

Data source: Department of Agriculture