Spring lamb kill falls for the second consecutive week

There has been a further fall in the number of spring lambs slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat exports plants.

According to figures from the Department, almost 35,500 spring lambs were slaughtered in factories during the week ending August 7.

This is a fall of 9,144 head compared to the week earlier or a drop of 14,045 head over the past two weeks.

Weaker factory prices and strong demand for spring lambs in the sales ring has been blamed for this fall in throughput.

And, in a bid to bring more lambs through the factory gates, most factories increased the base price for new season lamb on Monday and most are now sitting on a base price of 450-475c/kg.

Official figures also show that there has been fall in hogget slaughterings, with throughput falling by 152 head compared to the week earlier.

But despite the fall in hogget and spring lamb throughput, the number of ewes and rams slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved plants jumped by 1,571 head or 20.8% last week.

Farmers selling cull ewes can expect to be offered 230-240c/kg for factory fit cast ewes this week.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: -152 head (-48%)
  • Spring lambs: -9,144 head (-20.5%)
  • Ewes and rams: +1,571 head (+20.8%)
  • Total: -7,725 head (-14.7%)

Cumulative sheep supplies up 2% in 2016

According to Department figures, an extra 34,530 sheep (+2%) have been slaughtered in Irish sheepmeat factories so far this year, bringing the total to just under 1.47m head.

The majority of this increase has been in the form of ewe and ram and hogget slaughterings, which have increased by 23% (34,530 head) and 7% (43,523 head) respectively.

However, spring lamb throughput continues to lag behind the corresponding period in 2015, with 44,349 head or 7% fewer spring lambs slaughtered so far this year.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: +42,523 head (+7%)
  • Spring lambs: -44,349 head (-7%)
  • Ewes and rams: +36,733 head (+23%)
  • Total: +34,530 head (+2%)