Sheep supplies show some signs of easing

After reaching a peak of 78,428 head during the week ending August 19, weekly sheep supplies are showing some signs of returning to more normal levels.

The Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which took place between August 21 and August 25, saw the throughput of sheep at export approved plants rise significantly. Over 150,000 sheep were processed in the two weeks immediately ahead of the festival, figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

Last week, however, the number of sheep presented for slaughter was back considerably. During the week ending September 2, some 66,720 sheep were processed – back 5,680 head on the previous week. In addition, spring lambs supplies have also eased – falling from 62,696 head to 54,251 head.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes (week ending September 2):
  • Hoggets: 70 head (-14 head or -16.7%);
  • Spring lambs: 54,251 head (-8,445 head or -13.5%);
  • Ewes and rams: 12,399 head (+2,779 head or +28.9%);
  • Total: 66,720 head (-5,680 head or -7.8%).

However, the cast (ewe and ram) kill during the week ending September 2 was actually 2,779 head or 28.9% ahead of the previous week.

Cumulative kill

Meanwhile, looking at the cumulative sheep kill for the year up to the week ending September 2, official figures show that just over 1.92 million sheep have been slaughtered – up 40,633 head on the corresponding period in 2017.

Throughput increases were witnessed in the hogget (+22,222 head) and cast (+51,632 head) categories, but spring lamb slaughterings are back 32,601 head or 4%.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 828,410 head (+22,222 head or +3%);
  • Spring lambs: 773,864 head (-32,601 head or -4%);
  • Ewes and rams: 320,304 head (+51,632 head or +19%);
  • Total: 1,922,706 head (+40,633 head or +2%).