Sheep Reports

Sheep Council Report November 2023

  1. Market Report  
  • Lamb Price: Spring lambs are making €6.35 to €6.65kg on weights to 23kg. Cull Ewe prices are ranging from €2.70 to €3.10kg in general, lighter ewes €2.50 to €2.70/kg 

  • Supplies: Total throughput to date in 2023 is 2,362,316 head which represents a 2% decrease when compared to the same period in 2022.  Hogget throughput is running 79,204 head or 9% ahead of the same period in 2022. Spring lamb throughput is running -80,722 head or back -7% from the same period in 2022. 

Market Conditions; Irish Lamb prices have been relatively steady in August, September and October. Lamb prices remain strong from an historical perspective, and are currently on par with the same period in 2022. High input and production costs continue to impact the sector and is been reflected in the quality of lambs presented for slaughter. Demand for lamb in our key export markets has remained relatively subdued with inflation and the high price point of lamb relative to other proteins continuing to impact consumption. Irish sheep meat exports for the first seven months of 2023 were valued at €259 million, a 6% reduction from the same period in 2022. 

  • 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. Budget 2024 
  • Following a number of IFA protests, public meetings and intense lobbying from Sheep committee members IFA secured an additional €8/ewe payment in Budget 2024 for sheep farmers, bringing direct supports to a combined €20/ewe. 
  • IFA has put forward a number of proposals including supports for shearing, animal health measures and for store lamb supports to be included in the new scheme. It is vital leakage of these monies from the sector is kept to a minimum. IFA continue to seek a total payment of €30/ewe. 
  • IFA will be meeting with the Dept of Agriculture on the new scheme. 
  1. Activity  
  • Secured roll out of first phase of electronic notification of sheep movement 
  • Attended wool council meetings in April and October. 
  • Sheep committee meeting convened in May and October. 
  • Met Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue in April on the sheep crises. 
  • Attended the Copa Cogeca working party on Sheep in June. 
  • Attend the Bord Bia Meat & Livestock meeting in June and October. 
  • Met with wool exporters in June. 
  • Met with the Dept of Agriculture on the National Sheep Identification System in June.  
  • Attended the Sheep Ireland AGM in June.  
  • Attended the Food Vision Beef & Sheep Group meeting in June. 
  • Met the Dept of Agriculture on the Sheep Improvement Scheme in August. 
  • Attended the Bord Bia TAC meeting in October. 
  • Weekly publication of IFA sheep price updates. 
  1. Dog Control 
  • 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 met with the DAFM working group on control of dogs and put forward a number of proposals to improve dog control and traceability. 
  •  A report with a set of recommendations has been submitted for consideration and approval to Government. 
  • 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 successfully secured flexibility for famers on the scanning action following the overlap of the SWS scanning action in year one. Farmers can now choose an alternative Category B action in year one in if they scanned their ewes in January 2023. 
  • New entrants to sheep farming must be provided with the opportunity to build their flocks. A rolling reference number for the period the flock is being established is required. Throughout the duration of the scheme existing sheep farmers and new entrants who do not apply to the scheme in the first year must be accepted into the scheme if it is decided to partake in subsequent years. 
  • All farmers applying to the scheme that meet the eligibility criteria must be accepted into the scheme and paid on all ewes on the farm. 
  1. Wool 
  • IFA attended the third wool council meeting in October.  
  • 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 
  • The scheme is expected to open for producers in Q4 2023.  
  • IFA has continued to engage with DAFM on the new scheme.  
  • 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’. 
  • Bord Bia Origin Green Producer Standard review 
  • 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  
  • Electronic funds transfer 
  • Continued participation in the Wool Council. 
  • €30/ewe payment. 
  • Ongoing contact with Sheep Ireland. 

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