According to the Livestock & Meat Commission (LMC), fewer lambs are moving from Northern Ireland to the south for slaughter.
Exports of lambs from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland have been running behind previous years levels during 2021 to date.
Last week, 2,573 lambs made the journey from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland for processing – back just over 100 head from the previous week.
This takes total lamb exports during the last 12 weeks to 34,440 head – a 31 per% decline from the same period last year when 50,174 lambs were exported for direct slaughter.
Similarly, it is a 24% or 10,909 head reduction from 2019 when 45,349 lambs were exported to the Republic of Ireland for direct slaughter.
Northern Ireland lamb exports for direct slaughter during the 12 weeks in 2021 comprised 7% of the lamb throughput in Ireland.
This is a slight change from last year when NI lamb exports made up 9.2% of lamb throughput in ROI processing plants and 8.1% during the corresponding period in 2019.
Ewes and rams
The Livestock & Meat Commission noted that there has been a reduction in the number of ewes and rams being exported from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland for direct slaughter during the last 12 weeks.
Last week, 773 ewes and rams were exported to Ireland for direct slaughter which was an increase of 149 head from the previous week.
To note, this takes the total number of ewes and rams exported to 7,207 during the last 12 weeks. This is a 31% or 3,255 head reduction from 2020 and 26% or 2,569 head decline from the same period last year when 50,174 lambs were exported for direct slaughter.
Sheep prices in Northern Ireland
Sheep factories across Northern Ireland have moved to slash lamb quotes by over £0.60/kg this week.
The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has described the action as a “step too far”.
Its beef and lamb chair, Pat McKay, said:
“Last week, the average lamb price was £5.31/kg, and to drop it to £4.80/kg seems very unreasonable.”
“We were expecting the lamb trade to remain strong as the Eid Festival is due to start in mid-July.”
Update on sheep prices.