Sheep Reports

Sheep Council Report September 2021

Market Report

  • Lamb Price: Lambs are making €6.30/6.50kg. Cull Ewe prices are ranging from €3.40 to 3.60kg in general.
  • Supplies:  59,424 sheep were slaughtered during the week commencing 16/08/21 compared to 52,586 in the same week in 2020. Sheep slaughtering’s for 2021 are 7% down on 2020 at 1,646,683 head.
  • Market Conditions; Lamb has been performing well in the supermarket trade throughout this year. Reduced volumes of New Zealand imports in our key markets have created a favourable market environment for Irish lamb
  • 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:


CAP Payments

  • Only genuine active farmers must be eligible to claim payments in the CAP. Multi-nationals and large corporations/companies must be excluded from CAP payments on all lands including forestry.

Sheep Improvement Scheme 

  • The scheme must have a funding allocation to deliver €30/ewe to all participant farmers, €80m.
    • 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.
    • The IFA Submission on the Presentations given to the CAP Consultative Committee relating to the CSP included a proposal to include shearing as an action in the scheme. This proposal must be included as a measure.
    • 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 the sheep scheme. Inclusion of this measure in the sheep scheme will deliver on a number of key objectives in the CAP. It will support farmers in a vulnerable sector, ensure best practice is followed in parasite control and the overall health and welfare of the flock while also ensuring wool, which is a natural product with many environmentally sustainable uses, is presented from farms in optimum condition for further use.
    • The compulsion to be part of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme as an eligibility requirement of the scheme must be removed. Quality Assurance is a market requirement which should be rewarded from the market place. It is not appropriate as a requirement for eligibility in the proposed scheme. 
    • Genotyping of rams must not be a compulsory action in the scheme. Genotyping must be a voluntary/optional action available to farmers who wish to avail of it. 
    • The DAFM proposal to remove the net economic benefit associated with the actions is not acceptable. The support rate calculations for the scheme must be based on cost incurred/income foregone. Economic benefits are subjective, often aspirational and if exist may not generate for a significant period of time following the initial investment.

Agri Environmental Scheme

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

Sheep Welfare Scheme

  • The Minister has confirmed to IFA the in addition to the new reference year of 2017 for established flocks in the scheme, he intends to provide new entrants who joined the scheme with 2019 as a reference year for the rolled over scheme in 2021.
  • IFA have also sought the facilitation of new entrants who opted not to join the scheme since 2016 in recognition of the prohibitive impact of the reference period methodology for farmers entering the sector
  • IFA are seeking acceptance of the principal that new entrants are given time to fully develop their flock numbers while participating in the scheme

Dog Control

  • IFA have called on the Government to put serious resources into microchipping and an adequate dog warden service. All dogs are legally required to be micro chipped and have a licence however this is not being enforced.
  • IFA have called for a 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.

Upcoming issues

  • €30/ewe payment
  • CAP
  • National strategic plans 
  • Ongoing ‘No Dogs Allowed Campaign’ 
  • Utilisation of €100,000 fund to investigate outlets for wool
  • Develop Sheep Industry Working Group
  • 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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