The 2014 cumulative sheep kill is some nine per cent lower up to the week ending the 9 March. This represents a fall of almost 40,000 over the period since the start of the year on 2013.

Slaughtering was was down again last week in at sheep export premises according to Department of Agriculture figures. In total the sheep kill for the week stood at 36,210 this in itself is down more than 5,000 or 14 per cent on the same week last year.

Almost all categories of sheep recorded a lower kill last week compared to the same week in 2013. The lamb kill was particularly low 16,056 down 4,317 head or 21 per cent on 2013. Hoggets were also down last week. At a throughput of 14,691 head the kill was five per cent down of the same week last year. Ewes and Rams were also down, 10 per cent lower than the same week last year at 5,376.

In Northern Ireland (NI), the Livestock and Meat Commission reported that throughput of hoggets has continued to decline in line with seasonal trends with 5,042 killed in NI plants last week. Interestingly it noted that a further 7,158 hoggets were exported for direct slaughter in ROI plants.

It also highlighted hoggets being presented for slaughter are generally well covered with 82 per cent of price reported hoggets last week achieving a three or four for fat cover compared to 73 per cent in the corresponding week last year.

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