Numbers drop underpins rise in sheep price
Irish to gain from dip in European and NZ supplies
Sheep farmers should enjoy a sustained period of steady prices, Bord Bia has predicted.
Irish factory prices are currently running 15pc ahead of 2009, a trend that is being driven almost exclusively by lower supplies at home and across Europe.
Sheep and lamb supplies on the European market are not expected to recover in the next few years, Margaret McCarthy from Bord Bia has pointed out, and this will help underpin returns for Irish producers.
"Current forecasts show there will not be any sudden influx of supplies in the coming years, particularly in the key Continental lamb producing countries like Spain or France," the industry analyst said.
The total EU flock is running at about 87.6m head and forecasts for 2010-2015 show a further five percent tightening," Ms McCarthy explained.
However, she added that there was an expectation that average carcass weights would increase by around 2pc.
"This year, total EU consumption is at around 1.22m tonnes and, although in general decline, the rate of decline is not as accelerated as production and the 2010-2015 change is forecasted at minus 1.4pc," she said.