The sheep trade moved upwards recently as tightening supply led to an uplift in price, according to Bord Bia.

The total sheep kill so far in 2014 is 10 per cent lower than at the same stage last year. According to Department of Agriculture figures last week’s sheep kill totalled 41,114 head, which was nine per cent behind the same week last year.

While the total sheep kill may be down the hogget kill is up significantly. Since the start of the year some 69 per cent more hogget’s have been slaughtered compared to 2013. Last week some 15,470 hogget’s were killed, representing an 89 per cent increase on the same week last year.

Contributing to much of the reduced kill so far this year is the lamb kill which is cumulatively down 33 per cent since the start of the year. that means over 61,000 less lambs have been kill over the opening five weeks of the year.

However, although the price has moved upwards recently Bord Bia says that demand continues to remain under some pressure in our key export markets.

Here in Ireland it says base quotes for lamb increased slightly on last week with prices ranging between €4.60/kg and €4.70/kg. Prices paid for cull ewes remain unchanged at €2.00/kg.

In the UK, tightening supplies also continue to edge trade upwards. Bord Bia outlined the SQQ live price for lambs in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €5.14/kg deadweight towards the end of the week.

According to Bord Bia in France, the market was still reportedly quiet this week, with demand under some pressure combined with a strong supply of UK lamb on the market having some impact on trade. Prices for Irish Grade 1 lamb were around €4.93kg.