2021 has been a positive year for the Irish sheepmeat sector with strong prices at producer level and continuing growth in the value of sheepmeat exports. Tight supplies and strong consumer demand for sheepmeat has led to increased lamb prices across the globe. The average deadweight lamb price in Ireland during October 2021 was €6.25/kg, similar to deadweight price in Great Britain but remaining behind the €7.56/kg paid in France.
Lamb supplies for processing have remained steady with throughput since June 2021 totaling 1.1 million head; back marginally from the same period in 2020. The provisional sheep census figures for June 2021 have indicated a four percent increase in breeding ewe numbers. This combined with favorable weather conditions for lambing in Spring 2021 and reports of increased lambing rates has meant we expect an increase in lamb numbers available for processing this year.
High cereal prices and a strong store lamb trade has encouraged some producers not to push lambs to finish which has helped to spread the supply of lambs coming forward for processing. For this reason, the carryover of hoggets into Spring 2022 is expected to be in the region of 50,000 higher at 725,000 head which should help alleviate some of the lamb/hogget supply issues experienced in early 2021.
For further information on the Irish lamb sector and sustainable Irish lamb exporters please contact Linda.Madigan@bordbia.ie in your local Bord Bia office.