Spring lamb numbers jump as factory prices stabilise

There was a jump in the number of spring lambs slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat export plants last week.

Figures from the Department’s sheep kill data shows that spring lamb throughput increased by 134% or almost 6,000 head during the week ending May 1.

However, despite the increase in spring lamb numbers, the major factories have maintained quotes at 550c/kg, which has helped to stabilise the market.

The quoted hogget price has also remained unchanged with most procurement managers now offering a base price of 500c/kg.

But, official figures show that the number of hoggets slaughtered last week declined by 6.7% or just over 2,000 head compared to the week before, as the hogget season draws to a close.

According to the Department’s figures, there was also an increase in the number of cast slaughterings last week, with the ewe and ram kill jumping by 12%.

The rise in both the number of spring lambs and cast slaughterings during the week ending May 1, means that the week-on-week sheep kill increased by 11% or 4,515 head.

Sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: -2,077 head (-6.7%)
  • Spring lambs: +5,894 (+134%)
  • Ewes and rams: +695 head (+12%)
  • Total: +4,515 head (+11%)
Sheep kill week 17
Source: Department of Agriculture

Cumulative sheep kill

Figures from the Department of Agriculture also indicate that the number of sheep slaughtered in Ireland during the first four months of the year is 7% higher than the same time in 2015.

The majority of this increase is due to a rise in ewe and rams slaughterings, which are up by 29% or 22,305 head.

It also shows that the cumulative number of hoggets and spring lambs slaughtered so far this year have increased by 25,738 head and 992 head respectively.