Sheep trade: Beef protests affecting lamb throughput in factories

During the week ending September 1, the number of hoggets slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants was 126 – a decrease of 65 head on the previous week.

In addition, the number of spring lambs processed increased by 349 and amounted to 52,695.

This week, Kildare Chilling (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 460c/kg +10c/kg QA (payable up to a carcass of 21kg).

Kepak Athleague (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 440c/kg + 10c/kg QA (payable up to a 21kg carcass).

Irish Country Meats (Monday quote) is offering a base price of 450c/kg + 10c/kg (payable up to a 21kg carcass).

Overall, when the QA is factored in, this leaves quotes at 455-470c/kg. Again, that’s on a par with last week’s quotes.

In addition, cast ewes are making 250-260c/kg in sheep processing plants.

Spring lamb quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 440c/kg + 15c/kg QA;
  • Kildare Chilling: 460c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Irish Country Meats: 450c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: 250c/kg;
  • Kildare Chilling: 250c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Irish Country Meats: 250c/kg.

Throughput

As referenced above, hogget throughput at Department of Agriculture approved sheep export plants stood at 126 head for the week ending September 1. The number of spring lambs processed was 52,695 – an increase of 349 head on the previous week.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

In addition, cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings decreased by 2,249 head.

Furthermore, overall supplies decreased by 1,965 head. Cumulative figures for the year-to-date have reached 1,787,787 head; this is a decrease of 1,349,019 head compared to the same period in 2018.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending September 1):

  • Hoggets: 126 head (-65 or -34%);
  • Spring lambs: 52,695 head (+349 or +0.66%);
  • Ewes and rams: 9,121 head (-2,249 or -19.18%);
  • Total: 61,942 head (-1,965 head or -3.07%).

Protests

It’s clear that recent protests, albeit focused on beef prices, have had a negative impact on lamb throughput over the past week in some meat processing facilities. Total throughput across all sheep processing plants dropped by nearly 2,000 head.

Recent audits carried out by Chinese officials, in a bid to approve factories and enable market access, has added further pressure to get lambs killed.

On Monday last September 2, Kildare Chilling reported that processing of sheep was disrupted by protesters; however, activity returned to normal last Tuesday.

Furthermore, quotes remain largely on a par with the previous week.

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