Sheep Trade & Prices
Throughput: The availability of spring lambs became evident last week, with a higher throughput during the week ending 5th June totalling 52,729 head. This was an increase of 5,801 head from the previous week. The hogget season is almost at an end with just 3,312 processed last week which accounted for 6 per cent of overall throughput. Spring lamb numbers have continued to increase, with 43,549 processed last week, accounting for more than 80% of overall throughput.
Overall throughput levels in Irish export meat plants remain 7% below 2020 levels, with throughput crossing the 1m mark last week. 1,001,500 head have been sent for processing in the first 22 weeks of 2021 (-78,855 head). Hogget throughput is 11% lower compared to 12 months ago (-89,000), with ewes and ram throughput 7% lower than last year. However, spring lamb throughput so far is 12% ahead of 2020 levels, with an extra 20,500 head sent for processing in 2021.
There were 2,484 sheep imported from Northern Ireland for direct slaughter last week which consisted of 2,122 hoggets and spring lambs and 362 ewes/rams. Imports of sheep from Northern Ireland for the year to date have totalled 93,798 head, operating almost 36,000 head behind the same period in 2020
Prices: The average factory price for sheepmeat in Ireland for the week ended 5th June was €7.36kg, which was a decrease of 23c/kg on the previous week, as greater numbers of lambs are becoming available. However, prices are continuing to trend well ahead of previous years. The deadweight lamb price in GB last week was £6.70/kg (€7.78/kg) while in Northern Ireland the reported deadweight price for lambs was £5.93/kg (€6.89/kg).
Quotes for the small numbers of hoggets available have come back to €6.00-€6.50/kg, with some heavy hoggets receiving quotes under €5/kg. Quotes for spring lambs have come back to €7.40 - €7.50/kg. Lambs from Quality Assured farms are still commanding a 10-15c/kg premium in export meat plants.
See our weekly updated market trends.