Sheep Reports

Sheep Council Report May 2024

  1. Market Report  
  • Lamb Price: Spring Lambs are making €9.50kg to €9.80kg on weights to 21.5kg. Hogget’s are making from €9.20kg to €9.50kg on weights to 24kg. Cull Ewe prices are ranging from €4.10 to €4.50kg in general. 
  • Supplies: Total throughput to date in 2024 is 840,150 head which represents a 10% decrease when compared to the same period in 2023.  Spring lamb throughput is running 2,455 head or 13% behind the same period in 2023. Hogget throughput is running 77,084 or back 9% on 2023 figures. Ewe and Ram throughput is running 9,067 head or back -10% from the same period in 2023. 
  • Market Conditions; Lamb prices have been very strong over the past number of weeks. Tight supplies of lambs have not only been confined to Ireland but across the UK also which operates 7% behind 2023 figures. Supply forecasts for the EU has projected a 2% decline in sheep throughput for the first half of 2024 which equates to approx. 580,000 head reduction.  
  • Live Export: Live sheep exports up to March 31st 2024 stands at 5,481 head. 
  • Continued engagement with MII and sheep factory management.  
  • Increased QA Bonus: IFA continue to pursue an increase in the QA bonus to 30c/kg and have had discussions with Bord Bia, MII 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 with a comprehensive market report on Friday all of the latest data is available at 
  1. Activity  
  • Attended a consultation meeting on the proposed ban of the use of e collars on dogs in January. 
  • Met with the Dept of Agriculture on the new National Sheep Welfare scheme in January. 
  • Sheep committee update meeting convened online in January.  
  • IFA Sheep committee meeting convened in February.  
  • IFA attended the wool council AGM in February. 
  • Attended the Bord Bia Board meeting in February. 
  • IFA attended the first meeting of the Dog control stakeholder group in March. 
  • Launched the IFA ‘No Dogs Allowed’ campaign in March. 
  • Attended meetings with Bord Bia in February and March.  
  • Attended the Copa Cogeca working party on Sheep meat in April. 
  • Attended Civil Dialogue Group on Sheep meat in April.  
  • Attended the Sheep Ireland Board meeting in April. 
  • Attended the small ruminant’s stakeholder meeting in April. 
  • Weekly publication of IFA sheep price updates. 
  1. Dog Control 
  • IFA re-launched the ‘No Dogs allowed’ campaign in March. 
  • IFA Attended the first meeting of the Dog control stakeholder group in March. 
  • IFA set out its key priorities to the group which will be progressed over the lifetime of the group. 
  • IFA made a submission to the Dept of Agriculture on the proposed ban on the use of remotely controlled electronic shock collars on dogs. 
  • Committee members continue to promote the ‘No Dogs allowed’ campaign in their local regions and have been active lobbying local TD’s and Ministers for increased sanctions for irresponsible dog ownership. 
  • IFA proposals include; 
  1. A single National Database for all dogs corelating licensing and microchipping and identifying the person responsible for the dog but at a minimum alignment of the existing licensing and microchipping records to one central access point. 
  1. Full enforcement of microchipping and licensing obligations of dog owners for all dogs. 
  1. Stronger powers of enforcement for dog wardens and Gardaí and clarity of these powers. 
  1. Increased on the spot fines for failing to comply with the microchipping and licensing requirements. 
  1. Increased sanctions and on the spot fines for failing to have the dog under control. 
  1. Significant on the spot fines for dogs found worrying livestock. 
  1. Legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped and licensed and identified on the NVPS (National Veterinary Prescribing System) prior to any veterinary treatment or prescribing of medicines by veterinary practitioners. 
  1. Authority to apply the legislative obligations to dogs in border regions owned by persons not resident in the state. 
  1. Sheep Improvement Scheme 
  • 18,627 applications have made applied to the scheme accounting for 1.9m ewes. 
  • The €12/ewe payment must be built on to provide €30/ewe. 
  • IFA successfully secured an amendment to the Genotyped ram action allowing farmers to choose an alternative year if unable to secure a 4/5 star ram in the year nominated.  
  • IFA are seeking changes to the retention period in the scheme. 
  1. National Sheep Welfare scheme. 
  • IFA secured €15m for a new sheep scheme for 2024. 
  • The scheme will pay participants €8/ewe bringing the total direct support for sheep farmers to €20/ewe. Payments are available for over 1.87m ewes. 
  • The scheme launched in April and the application closing date is May 21st
  • The scheme is based on two categories of actions, with two actions within each category all costed at €4/ewe with participants selecting one action from each category to receive the full €8 payment. 
  • Category 1 actions are shearing or Body Condition Scoring with the category two actions providing the option to select clostridial vaccination or plunge dipping.  
  • Payments will be issued to farmers in December 2024. 
  1.  Review of Bord Bia Origin Green Producer Standard 
  • IFA continue to engage with Bord Bia on the Origin Green Producer Standard review.  
  • Current discussions are on-going on Module D which includes Animal Welfare. 
  • IFA have raised concerns at the direction of travel of the Bord Bia proposals in relation to all elements of the standard and of the inspection process 
  • Further direct engagement with Bord Bia n the issue is planned 
  1. Wool 
  • IFA attended the wool council AGM on February 16th.  
  • IFA continues to pursue the inclusion of shearing as an action in the new Sheep Improvement Scheme to offset the huge losses incurred for this farm practise.  
  • It costs approx. €8 to present a 3kg fleece rolled and packed on a farm. Costing farmers over €21m annually. Shearing costs must be directly supported to incentivise farmers carrying out this vital health and welfare measure and to ensure wool is presented in optimum condition for future added value use. 
  1. Early-stage support for producer organisations 
  • IFA continues to engage with DAFM on the new scheme and is expected to open for applications in Q3 2024.  
  • IFA has demanded all existing lamb producer groups are eligible for this support. 
  1. Electronic Transfer of Funds (EFT) 
  • IFA met with MII and called for all meat processors to offer Electronic Transfer of Funds (ETF) as a payment method to sheep farmers. Two major sheep processing plants have moved to provide EFT as a payment method option for sheep farmers. 
  1.      Upcoming issues 
  • Ongoing ‘No Dogs Allowed Campaign’.  
  • Dawn meats acquisition of Kildare Chilling. 
  • Bord Bia Origin Green Producer Standard review. 
  • Electronic funds transfer. 
  • Ongoing contact with the DAFM on National Sheep Identification System.  
  • Continued participation in the Wool Council. 
  • €30/ewe payment. 
  • Sheep Industry Working Group. 
  • Upcoming sheep committee meeting. 
  • Ongoing contact with Bord Bia, processing plants and MII to progress IFA’s calls to advance the Quality Assurance bonus to 30c/kg. 
  • Ongoing contact with Sheep Ireland. 

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