Hogget supplies showing signs of easing as weekly kill drops by 2,900 head

Hogget supplies are showing some signs of easing, the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture’s sheep kill data show.

During the week ending March 21, the number of hoggets slaughtered at Department approved sheepmeat export plants dropped by more than 2,900 head on the week before.

This is a week-on-week drop of almost 7%.

A number of procurement managers said that the relatively strong supply of hoggets over the past few weeks has been the main reason for a spring lamb base price of 640c/kg.

Previously, figures from the Department showed that the week-on-week hogget kill had increased during the first and second week of March.

As a result of the decrease in the weekly hogget kill, the total number of sheep slaughtered during the week ending March 21 is 3% lower than the week before.

But, figures from the Department of Agriculture show that the week-on-week spring lamb is starting to increase.

Last week, there were an additional 493 new season lambs slaughtered in factories around Ireland, which is 22% higher than the week before.

Cast slaughterings also increased last week. The number of ewe and rams slaughtered during the week ending March 21 was 674 head (+13%) higher than the week ending March 13.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Spring lamb: -22% (-493 head)
  • Hoggets: -7% (-2,908 head)
  • Ewes and rams: +13% (+674 head)
  • Total: -3% (-1,733 head)
weekly sheep kill slaughterings 3032016
Source: Department of Agriculture

Cumulative sheep supplies

Despite the weekly fall in hogget throughput, the cumulative number of hoggets slaughtered so far this year is 7% higher than the corresponding period in 2015.

The cumulative supply of spring lambs is also higher this year compared to the same time last year, with an additional 4,298 head slaughtered to March 21 of this year.

The increase in spring lamb throughput is most likely due to Easter being earlier this year.

The number of ewes and rams slaughtered so far this year is also higher than the corresponding time in 2015.

Figures from the Department show that ewe and rams slaughterings are currently running 35% or 18,851 head above 2015 levels.