Farm Ireland

Friday 23 February 2018

Significant fall in numbers of Northern lambs being killed by factories

Photo Brian Farrell
Photo Brian Farrell
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Latest figures show a significant decline in the numbers of lambs being imported from Northern Ireland for slaughter in the Republic.

According to figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission in Northern Ireland exports of lambs from Northern Ireland to the Republic for direct slaughter last week totalled 5,599 head taking total exports for the six week period ending 25 June 2017 to 28,099 head.

This accounts for a 13pc decline year on year.

Lamb exports to ROI accounted for 38pc of output from the NI sheep flock during the six weeks ending 25 June 2017, a decrease from the same period in 2016 when 42pc of NI lambs were exported to ROI for direct slaughter.

The lamb trade eased last week on the back of strong supplies and a slowdown in demand. 

Base quotes for spring lamb were making on average between €5.30/kg and €5.40/kg while hoggets were generating around €5.00/kg. Looking at culled ewes, prices are currently making between €2.60/kg and €2.70/kg.

According to Bord Bia, overall throughputs at export meat plants for the week ending June 24th stood at almost 58,000 head which was up 13pc on the corresponding week in 2016.

This was mainly driven by stronger supplies of spring lamb. Cumulative figures for the year to date have reached 1.27m head, up 12pc or 133,000 head compared to the same period in 2016.

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Year to date supplies of hoggets are up 18pc while cull ewes and rams are up 13pc and Spring lambs so far are back 4pc compared to the corresponding period last year.

The latest net production data is indicating a 15pc rise in net production between January and May this year compared to year previous levels driven by stronger supplies coupled with higher carcase weights.

In Britain, Bord Bia says the trade has eased with demand being offset by higher supplies.

It says the live price for lamb in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €5.19/kg dw during the week. For the year to date hogget supplies are up significantly on 2016 levels with good pasture conditions boosting carcase weights.

In France,Bord Bia says the trade has decreased following the end of Ramadan while strong supplies of imported lamb on the market coupled with lower consumption due to weather and seasonality is negatively impacting the trade.

 Grade 1 Irish spring lamb prices were making around €5.72/kg dw (incl VAT) during the week.

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