Strong demand sees lamb prices soar in Northern Ireland during March

Lambing season is in full swing
Lambing season is in full swing

FarmIreland Team

Lamb prices in Northern Ireland were up by some 28pc in March, according to latest figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

It says the strong uplift recorded in both the liveweight and deadweight trade for sheep in NI was driven by a firm demand for sheep from local processors and processors in ROI.

“A weaker sterling against the euro also contributed to the strong trade by making NI lambs more attractive to ROI processors while at the same time making lamb processed in NI more competitive on the important EU market,” it said.

Hogget/lamb throughput in NI totalled 23,253 head in March 2018, up almost 20pc from March 2017 levels.

According to the LMC, some of this increase in throughput has been offset by a 5pc reduction in the average carcase weight of hoggets/lambs killed in local plants.

In March 2018 the average carcase weight in NI was 21.9kg, back from the 23.1kg recorded in March 2017.

Meanwhile sheep exports to the Republic for direct slaughter totalled 33,394 head during March 2018, up 21pc from the 27,573 sheep exported during March 2017.

Exports to ROI for direct slaughter accounted for 41pc of total hogget/lamb output in NI during March 2018, a proportion that was unchanged from year earlier levels.

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