Farm Ireland

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Weak Sterling sees surge in Northern hoggets crossing border for slaughter

Mountbellew Sheep Mart, Co. Galway. Photo Brian Farrell
Mountbellew Sheep Mart, Co. Galway. Photo Brian Farrell
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

During the first six weeks of 2018 local sheep processors in Northern Ireland saw a 9pc reduction in the number of hoggets slaughtered.

While the number of hoggets killed in Northern Ireland has declined year on year there has been an increase in the number of hoggets being exported south of the border for direct slaughter.

According to figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission in Northern Ireland, during the first six weeks of 2018 50,432 hoggets made the journey to the Republic for direct slaughter, a 20pc increase from 42,060 hoggets exported during the same period in 2017.

Exports to the Republic accounted for 55pc of total hogget output from Nothern Ireland during the 2018 period, an increase from 48pc in the same period in 2017.

There has been strong demand for Northern lambs in Southern plants due to a weaker sterling against euro making NI lambs very cost competitive.

NI lambs accounted for 13pc of the total lamb kill in ROI during 2018 to date.

The deadweight lamb price in NI last week increased by 6.2p/kg to 412.9p/kg while in here in the Republic it increased by the equivalent of 12.5p/kg to 429.2p/kg.

It comes as IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy met with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed this week and highlighted the “over the top” implementation of the Clean Sheep policy at factory level.

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Dennehy said, “We made it very clear to the Minister that some Department officials have adopted an overzealous approach to the Clean Sheep Policy. This has dragged the policy into disrepute and has led to growing disruption of normal selling and processing activity.

He added that IFA made it clear that sending sheep home and full shearing are not part of any policy and are totally unacceptable. The Department agreed to review sending sheep home and also made it clear full shearing was not necessary.

The IFA sheep farmer leader said sheep farmers would continue to endeavour to present sheep as clean as possible.

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