Spring lamb supplies continue to remain strong

Although some signs of markets improving were witnessed this week, the number of spring lambs being presented for slaughter continues to remain strong.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that some 67,331 sheep were processed in approved sheepmeat export plants last week (week ending October 14) – a drop of 332 head or 0.5% on the previous week.

A 2,381 head decline in cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings was mainly responsible for this decline, but spring lamb numbers were up on the previous week.

In total, some 56,938 spring lambs were processed in export approved plants last week – a climb of 2,027 head or 3.7%.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 94 head (+21 head or +28.8%);
  • Spring lambs: 56,938 head (+2,027 head or +3.7%);
  • Ewes and rams: 10,297 head (-2,381 head or +18.8%);
  • Total: 67,331 head (-332 head or 0.5%).

Cumulative supplies

Meanwhile, moving to the cumulative sheep kill for 2018, official figures show that just over 2.3 million sheep have been processed in Irish plants between January 1 and October 14. When compared to the corresponding period in 2017, that’s a climb of 57,392 head or 3%.

A rise in hogget and cast throughput accounts for the majority of this rise, while spring lamb numbers are running 16,457 head or 1% behind the same period in 2017.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 828,969 head (+22,127 head or +3%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,103,558 head (-16,457 head or -1%);
  • Ewes and rams: 397,002 head (+52,603 head or +15%);
  • Total: 2,329,670 head (+57,392 head or +3%).