Sheep Trade & Prices
Throughput: Weekly sheep throughput for week ended October 17th decreased marginally by 59 head on the week previous. For the week, a total of 62,342 sheep were processed in Irish export plants. Throughput for the same week in 2019 was 2,814 head higher. Throughput for the remainder of 2020 may remain lower than in recent weeks as concerns over increased Covid-19 restrictions across the main export markets may have an impact on demand.
For the year to date, total throughput for sheep in Ireland is 2,308,223 head, which is 5% higher than the corresponding period in 2019. Increases in spring lamb throughput have accounted for this higher throughput level. Spring lamb throughput for 2020 stands at 1,210,834 head, running % (+93,459 head) above 2019 levels as good grass growth in the summer, a 22kg carcass limit and active sourcing by export plants for factory ready lambs attributing to this.
Live imports of lambs for direct slaughter in the Republic of Ireland have reached over 282,800 head so far this year. This is a decline of over 10,200 head compared to the same period 12 months ago. (-3.5%)
Prices: The average factory price for sheepmeat in Ireland for the week ended October 17th was €4.90/kg, which was a slight increase of 3c/kg on the previous week. The GB lamb price for last week was £4.42/kg, which equates to €4.87/kg. Northern Ireland lamb prices are currently averaging €4.66/kg (£4.23/kg).
Lamb prices in the past week have seen some uplift across all the main export plants. Quotes for the week commencing October 19th were between €4.90-€5.10/kg, with QA lambs still commanding a 10c/kg price premium. Some lots of high quality lambs are receiving quotes of €5.20-€5.30/kg in some cases. Prices in 2020 continue to outperform 2019 figures, with the average sheepmeat price in 2020 over 44c/kg higher than the 2019 equivalent. (+9%)
See our weekly updated market trends.