Yearly sheep kill edging closer to 2.6m head

The number of sheep slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved export plants so far this year is edging towards 2.6m head, figures from Bord Bia show.

In total, some 2.58m sheep have been slaughtered so far this year, an increase of 2.7% or 68,107 head on the year before.

A 26.8% jump in cast ewe and ram throughput makes up the majority of this increase, with supplies up 81,145 head to 384,232 head.

But, lamb throughput has actually fell slightly, with nearly 2.2m head slaughtered in 2016 – a fall of 13,038 head or 0.6% on year before levels.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Lambs: -13,038 head (-0.6%)
  • Cast ewes: +81,145 head (26.8%)
  • Total sheep: +68,107 head (+2.7%)

Weekly sheep kill

Meanwhile, figures from Bord Bia also show that the number of sheep slaughtered in Ireland last week fell by 3% or 1,787 head on the week before.

In total, Irish processors slaughtered 58,782 head of sheep last week, with lamb throughput sitting at 50,526 head, while 8,256 ewes and rams were slaughtered.

Looking a lamb throughput, the weekly kill of these animals fell by 16.6% or 10,043 head during the week ending December 17, while cast or ewe and ram throughput declined by 6.4% or 565 head.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Lambs: -10,043 head (-16.6%)
  • Cast ewes and rams: -565 head (-6.4%)
  • Total sheep: -1,787 head (-3%)

Factories continue to work off lower quotes

Sheep factories have maintained their stance of lamb prices this week, with three of Ireland’s leading processors opting to keep quotes at last weeks levels.

Both Irish Country Meats and Kildare Chilling have opted to operate at last week’s lower base quotes of 450c/kg and 455c/kg, with both prices excluding the Bord Bia Quality Assurance bonus.

Kepak Athleague have also maintained prices at last week’s levels and is starting negotiations with farmers at 465c/kg.

Meanwhile, looking at ewe prices, the majority of processors have opted to maintain base quotes at 230-240c/kg, excluding Bord Bia Quality Assurance payments.