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Sheep Trade & Prices

Sheep Trade & Prices

Sheepmeat

Throughput: For the week ending June 18, 2022 there were 53,237 sheep processed in DAFM export approved plants. This shows a one per cent increase from the corresponding week in 2021.

Sheep throughput in DAFM approved plants during the first twenty four weeks of 2022 has totaled 1,248,644 head compared to 1,103.689 head in the same period last year. This represents a 13% increase from 2021 levels and is driven primarily by the higher carryover of hoggets into this year. Spring lamb numbers have been slow to come forward for processing this year. Higher input costs along with some variable grass growth across the country will have contributed to this trend. The ewe kill in 2022 to date has remained similar to 2021 level despite the very strong prices available. ​

The deadweight sheep trade continues to firm on the back of very tight supplies, hogget numbers have more or less come to an end while spring lamb numbers are lower than previous years as indicated above. As the year progresses however lamb supplies are expected to increase with forecasts indicated a bigger lamb crop in 2022. There are some concerns at processor level of tight supplies up until the autumn and then a sharp improvement in availability for slaughter, For this reason producers are being encourage to keep lambs moving and slaughter lambs when ready.

Prices: The deadweight lamb trade has jumped in the last week in response to good demand and low supplies of the sheepmeat available. The reported Irish price spiked by 11c/kg on the previous week and now stands at €8.00/kg for the week ending June 18, 2022. Current deadweight prices are operating 96c/kg or 14% above the corresponding price in 2021 as the market gains strength. Irish sheep prices are trending well above the five year average price for the same period.

The deadweight lamb trade is holding steady with base quotes in the region of 800-820c/kg. Lamb numbers have started to pick up after a slow start but are still running behind 2021 levels with 30,000 less lambs processed for the year to date. This decline in lamb availability has been somewhat offset by the number of hoggets still being presented for slaughter. During May 2022 just short of 80,000 hoggets were processed in DAFM approved plants, compared to 43,197 in May 2021. The deadweight trade for cull ewes has remained very strong with quotes of 380-400c/kg across the plants. The ewe trade is being driven by a very strong liveweight trade with record prices being reported for cull ewes in recent weeks.

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