Sheep Reports

Sheep Council Report March 2022

Market Report

  • Lamb Price: QA Hogget’s are making €7.00 to 7.20/kg. Cull Ewe prices are ranging from €3.40 to 3.70/kg in general.
  • Supplies: Total throughput to date is 360,590 head which represents an 10% increase when compared to the same period in 2021. Stronger lamb throughput in recent weeks has brought the total lamb kill to 31,782 above the same period in 2021.
  • Market Conditions; Market conditions remain positive for Irish lamb. The full reopening of the food service sector has increased demand for lamb in recent weeks. Hogget numbers remain very tight this week as factories struggle to secure supplies. Strong demand for lamb in our key export markets will underpin lamb prices in the lead up to Ramadan and Easter festivals which commence in early April. The mart trade continues to perform well with factory agents and wholesalers competing strongly for the limited supply of finished lamb available.
  • New Zealand exports to the EU have reached its lowest levels in decades creating favourable market conditions for Irish lamb. New Zealand exports continue to be directed towards China on the back of growing home consumption. In 2021 62% of NZ exports destined to China, an 11% increase on 2020 with just 10% of overall exports directed into the EU.
  • Increased QA Bonus: IFA continue to pursue an increase in the QA bonus to 30c/kg and have had discussions with Bord Bia and factory representatives on the issue
  • Farmers are encouraged to sell hard while moving lambs as they become fit.
  • IFA publish lamb price updates twice weekly and all of the latest data is available at

Weekly Kill Data

Dog Control

  • IFA ‘No Dogs Allowed’ campaigned was re-launched on 8th February on the anniversary of the campaign commencing in 2021
  • Minster McConalogue committed to strengthen dog ownership legislation at the IFA AGM. 
  • Minister Charlie McConalogue and Minister Heather Humphreys launched the responsible dog ownership campaign in January.
  • IFA continue to lobby Government to put resources into microchipping and an adequate dog warden service. 
  • Committee members have continued to promote the campaign on local media outlets in recent weeks.
  • The latest report on the implementation of the Control of Dogs Act shows only 207,866 dogs are licensed out of an estimated 800,000 dogs in the country.  
  • IFA have called for a single national ownership database for all dogs that allows those responsible for them be identified.
  • IFA have called for appropriate sanctions to act as a deterrent for those who allow their animals to cause this devastation on sheep farms and for resources to be put in place to enforce these sanctions.

Sheep Improvement Scheme

  • The scheme must have a funding allocation to deliver €30/ewe to all participant farmers
    • The proposed €20m/annum scheme with proposed payments of €12/ewe will only be available to 1.7m ewes, this is less than the numbers of ewes in the current Sheep Welfare Scheme.
    • Almost 1m ewes are left behind in the proposed new sheep scheme funding allocation.
    • With over 2.6m ewes in the country the proposed funding for the scheme will only deliver a payment of €7.70/ewe based on the most recent census figures.
    • The scheme must have a budget to deliver €30/ewe to all ewes in the country.
    • The current proposal lack ambition to provide the opportunity for participants to generate €30/ewe and must be amended through increased/updated costings and additional practical and beneficial measures.
    • The reference period must reflect the actual levels of activity on farms. New entrants to the sector must be allowed time to establish their flocks while participating in the scheme and have this recognised in the reference numbers.
    • Following IFA’s rejection to the inclusion of membership of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme, this condition has now been removed from the proposals
    • IFA sought the inclusion of shearing as an action in the scheme. 
    • Shearing has become a very expensive on farm practice for sheep farmers due to the collapse in the wool market. This is a critical animal health and welfare measure for sheep farmers which is ideally placed for inclusion in a targeted sheep scheme. 
    • Genotyped Rams/Parentage verification in the SIS
    • This measure must recognise home bred genotyped/sire verified rams, 
    • Farmers must be allowed carry out this measure when it is suitable for the farm without prior notification
    • Additional payment should be provided for this measure

Agri Environmental Scheme

  • The new Agri-environmental scheme must deliver €10,000 to sheep farmers

Sheep Welfare Scheme 2021 and 2022

  • The new reference periods secured by IFA are worth an additional €5m over the two years for sheep farmers in the scheme

Nitrates Action Plan

  • IFA have called for the sheep sector to be entirety excluded from the NAP.

Electronic Funds Transfer

  • IFA has written to each sheep processing plant demanding the option to have payments issued to farmers through EFT following committee members communications with factories on the issue in December.
  • IFA met MII and demanded EFT to be provided as an option of payment to sheep farmers.

Wool Feasibility Study

  • IFA met The Agile Executive on the 7th of January, the company appointed by DAFM to carry out the wool feasibility study.
  • Development on the current phase of the study is expected to be concluded in mid-March.
  • The study must add value to wool and sheep farmers must be first in line for supports.

Upcoming issues

  • €30/ewe payment
  • Ongoing ‘No Dogs Allowed Campaign’
  • Utilisation of €100,000 fund to investigate outlets for wool
  • Develop Sheep Industry Working Group
  • The export of breeding sheep to Northern Ireland
  • Ongoing contact with Bord Bia, lamb factories and MII to progress IFA’s calls to advance the Quality Assurance bonus to 30c/kg in order to fairly reward those in the scheme
  • Ongoing contact with Sheep Ireland

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