Last week, Bord Bia hosted a webinar for sheep farmers, which saw Seamus McMenamin give an update on how Irish exports of sheepmeat have been performing in the first few months of 2021.

Seamus said that it has been a positive start to 2021 for Irish sheepmeat exports in terms of value.

He explained: “The figures for exports I have here with me are for the first four months of the year.

“It has been a really positive start to the year in terms of value – which has driven by strong deadweight prices.

“The value of Irish exports is up just over 11% to €126 million. Although, volume has dropped due to the tighter supplies and has fallen by nearly 10% to 21,000t.”

Source: Bord Bia

Seamus added that there has been some resistance from major customers regarding the strong prices and then spoke about the growing interest in QA lamb.

He added: “There has been a growing interest in QA lamb, particularly from European retailers due to the sustainability that comes along with that product.

“The EU remains our strongest export market, with the value of exports to the EU for the first four months of the year amounting to €95 million.

“While there has been encouraging growth in other markets such as in Switzerland and in Asia.”

Domestic market update

Giving an update on the domestic market, Seamus said that the retail sector had been performing well; however, strong prices and reduced availability have impacted retail sales of late.

Although, despite this, Seamus said that there has been some positive trends seen, with the number of households buying lamb increasing.