Spring lamb numbers on the increase, with throughput up 80% last week

The number of spring lambs slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheepmeat export plants is on the rise.

According to the latest figures from the Department, spring lamb throughput increased by almost 1,000 head last week, up 80% on the week before.

This brings the spring lamb kill for the week ending April 10 to 1,932 head.

But, factories have moved to cut spring lamb prices this week by 20c/kg, with the main processors now offering a base price of 620-640c/kg.

Spring lambs have also met with a tougher trade in the marts, with prices back by €5-7 in some locations, as factory buyers continue to focus on hoggets.

However, figures from the Department’s sheep kill data indicate that the hogget kill continues to tighten, with throughput back by 956 head or 2.8% last week compared to the week earlier.

Despite the reduction in numbers, factory prices have remained unchanged for hoggets, with the main processors offering base quotes of 540-565c/kg.

There has also been a marked increase in the number of cast ewes and rams slaughter, figures from the Department show.

During the week ending April 10, the ewe and ram kill increased by almost 10%, up 479 head on the week before.

Week-on-week sheep kill differences:
  • Hoggets: -956 head (-2.8%)
  • Spring lambs: +859 head (+80%)
  • Ewes and rams: +479 head (+9.6%)
  • Total: +374 head (+1%)

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Cumulative sheep kill

This year’s cumulative sheep kill is over 50,000 head higher than the same time in 2015, figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

To the week ending April 10, there had been 565,117 sheep slaughtered in Department approved sheepmeat export plants, which is 9% higher than the corresponding time in 2015.

Hoggets and cast ewes account for the majority of this increase, up by 28,171 head (+6%) and 19,978 head (+32%) respectively.

The cumulative number of spring lambs slaughtered is also higher this year compared to the same time in 2015, with an additional 2,638 head killed to the week ending April 10.