Sheep Reports

Sheep Council Report July 2020

Sheep in Wicklow

Market Report

  • Lamb Price. For 02/7/2020. Strong demand. Factories paying €5.50/5.55/kg. Top prices €5.60/kg paid to 21.5kgs. Ewes €2.70/2.80/kg.
  • 60,821 sheep were slaughtered at sheep export premises the week ended June 28st. compared to 58.904 in the same week of 2019. Sheep slaughtering’s for 2020 are up by 63,911 or 5% on 2019 levels.
  • In selling lambs, select carefully and avoid overweight and under finished lambs. The advice is as always – move lambs as they become fit.
  • In the UK. Major increase in lamb prices in the UK in the last two weeks. Prices are strong with the AHBD reporting mart price up in the last 2 weeks. On June 30th. mart prices averaged £2.28/kg lw, equivalent to €5.65/kg.
  • Main New season Bord Bia Lamb TV promotions running from June 1st to 21st. Second wave from July 13th to 28th as part of EU Lamb Try It-Love it campaign.
  • The big Muslin festival of Eid Al Adha begins on July 30th and buyers are already trying to put down stock, especially in the UK.
  • IFA has highlighted that lamb prices are rising as factories struggle to get supplies to meet strong demand. The facts are factories cannot get lambs at their low quoted prices and are having to pay a lot more, up to 30c to 40c/kg in places.
  • Lambs are very scarce in some factory lairages in the last week. Weekly disposals have been high and a lot of lambs have moved. Nationally the kill is up 63,911 and the spring lamb kill is 45,182 ahead of last year.
  • The store trade is also strong at the marts, with quality lambs in the 35kgs weight range making the mid €80’s.
  • Quality Assurance. IFA has written to Bord Bia requesting a stakeholders meeting to advance Quality assurance on the sheep meat side. IFA has consistently called on factories to increase the QA bonus to 30c/kg in order to increase the number of sheep farmers in the Quality assurance scheme from 12,000.
  • IFA will continue to publish lamb prices twice weekly and all of the latest data is on
  • Weekly kill data up to week 26, Sunday June 28th.

Lamb Imports.

  • Letter to Minister Creed on Lamb Imports. IFA has written to Minister Creed about live lamb imports demanding that the Department of Agriculture publish the volumes and origin of all lamb imports on a weekly basis.
  • In addition, IFA has requested that the Department and Bord Bia clarify the situation regarding traceability, origin and quality assurance status on all lamb processed in Irish factories.

Meeting with the Department of Agriculture on Sheep Policy

  • IFA met with senior officials in the DAFM on July 2nd to discuss various policy issues including IFA proposals on €30 per ewe targeted payments, Sheep welfare scheme, Budget 2021, CAP, Eco Schemes, Environmental schemes, EU trade deals under Brexit and EU/NZ/AUS deals, Lamb Imports, Market access, Quality Assurance and Grading.

Budget 2021 Proposal

  • With 34,000 flock owners, sheep farming is the second largest sector in terms of farm numbers. The sector has an output of €450m with exports of 55,000t to 35 different countries.
  • The Sheep Welfare Scheme has been very positive and effective; sheep are major contributors to environmental preservation, particularly in hill and mountainous areas. The four-year scheme is due to conclude in Dec 2020.
  • IFA Proposal; A targeted payment of €30 per ewe through a combination of CAP and national funding for sheep farmers. Across the national flock of 2.57 million ewes, this would require funding of €77m pa.

Activity since last Council

  • IFA National Sheep committee meeting on May 28th.
  • IFA made a detailed submission to the Government and the EU Commission on the measures needed to support the sheep sector through COVID-19.
  • Lobby of TDs and Senators on Government formation and campaign for €30 per ewe.
  • Ongoing contact with DAFM, Bord Bia, Sheep Ireland, and lamb factories on sheep issues.
  • Weekly publication of IFA Beef and Sheep Update and update of IFA What’s app groups on a weekly basis. See
  • IFA coordinated elections to the board of Sheep Ireland Board on behalf of Producer Groups.

EU/COPA Developments

  • IFA has lobbied and briefed senior EU Commission officials on the sheep issues and IFA proposals.
  • IFA working with FNO – French Sheep farmers and others on EU measures for the sheep sector.

Upcoming Issues/Priorities

  • With the main selling season in full swing, lamb prices are a priority.
  • Lobby on campaign for €30 per ewe payment and Sheep Welfare scheme with new Government and DAFM.
ChairmanSean Dennehy
Director of LivestockKevin Kinsella

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