Sheep kill: Supply continues to trail 2022 numbers

Latest sheep kill figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) have shown that the most recent weekly supply of sheep being processed is 12% behind the same time period last year.

A total of 58,928 sheep were slaughtered in week 35 (ending Sunday, September 3), and taking a look at this year’s throughput figures to date, 1,886,112 sheep have been processed so far.

Of that figure, 979,628 have been hoggets, 705,406 were spring lambs, with the rest made up of ewes and rams (200,948), and a small portion of light lambs (130 head).

The table below gives an overview of the sheep kill for the week ending Sunday, September 3, (week 35) and the cumulative kill to date this year compared to the same time period of 2022:

Kind 2023
week 35
2023 cumulative 2022 weekly 2022 cumulative Weekly
Cumulative difference 23 vs. 22 % weekly difference 23 vs. 22 % cumulative difference
Lambs/Hoggets 395 979,628 800 895,381 -405 84,247 -51% 9%
Spring Lambs 49,742 705,406 55,107 778,120 -5.365 -72,714 -10% -9%
Ewes and Rams 8,790 200,948 11,011 224,375 -2.221 -23,427 -20% -10%
Light Lambs 1 130 107 1 23 21%
Total 58,928 1,886,112 66,918 1,897,983 -7,990 -11,871 -12% -1%
Source: DAFM

As the table above indicates, the sheep kill in week 35 was 58,928 head, down 7,990 head or 12% from the same week of last year.

In week 35, there were 49,742 spring lambs slaughtered, and a total of 705,406 in 2023 so far.

However, this is 5,365 fewer spring lambs processed when compared with 12 months ago, which is a 10% reduction.

Ewe and ram throughput totalled 8,790 in week 35, bringing the total figure so far in 2023 to 200,948 slaughtered.

According to DAFM figures, the cumulative difference in the hogget kill this year is 84,247 head, or 9% ahead of the same time period last year with 979,628 hoggets processed in the first 35 weeks of this year.

There was a 51% decrease in the number of hoggets slaughtered, as the hogget trade has finished for some processors, seeing only 395 being processed in week 35.

So far this year, 2023 has seen a 9% increase in the number of hoggets slaughtered when compared 2022 figures up to week 35.

The graph below shows how the weekly sheep kills this year have been comparing to last year:

Source: DAFM

With the fall of the sheep supply in week 35, the prices in the trade have leveled, out as the base prices for spring lambs were reported earlier this week as being €6.00/kg.

Those bringing their spring lambs to factories are being urged by processors to them finish on concentrates, as killouts continue to be poor.


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