Changes in Export Rules & Tight Supplies Driving Sheep Trade

Sheep in Wicklow

IFA Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey said the removal of the residency period from the export criteria for sheep for direct slaughter within the EU removes a major obstacle from the trade.

It means exporters can now compete for finished lambs in mart sales, which will add vital competition to the trade.

Kevin Comiskey said this change comes at a time when live export demand for sheep is increasing in line with previous years. Of the almost 13,000 sheep exported last year, approx. 8,000 were exported between June and August coinciding with our peak supplies.

The changes make live exports to continental Europe easier for live exporters and should increase numbers that will move, creating a positive impact on the trade.

“The countries looking to Ireland for live exports of finished lamb include France and Spain.  Reduced breeding flocks in both countries last year has increased demand for sheep meat and Ireland is ideally placed to supply them. There have also been enquiries for lamb from several other countries to fill the surge in demand for the upcoming Muslim festival,” he said.

Eid al-Adha festival which runs from June 28th until July 2nd is a key driver of demand for sheep meat in our key export markets.  As supplies remain tight, factories must push prices on to get lambs to fill orders.

The IFA Chairman said these developments mean factories no longer have it all their own way for finished lambs in mart sales and farmers now have an extra and viable competitive outlet for their lambs.

“Demand for lamb is increasing.  Numbers are extremely tight and there is additional competition for factories, which must translate into higher prices,” he concluded.

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