IRELAND - Total Irish sheep supplies for the first eight months of 2014 were running two per cent higher, equivalent to an additional 45,000 head, than the same period in 2013, according to Declan Fennell form the Meat and Livestock Division of Bord Bia.
With fewer lambs carried over from 2013, throughputs during the main hogget season were back six per cent on the previous year at 734,000 head.
However, in sharp contrast, new season lamb supplies reached a six year high, largely due to an exceptionally good lambing season and a plentiful supply of grass throughout the spring and summer months.
For the period May to August total new season lamb supplies stood at 984,000, representing an eight per cent increase on last year.
With reports of good breeding sales and brisk trade for the store lambs, there is a growing sense of optimism at farm level. In line with this renewed confidence, it is expected that the breeding flock will increase by two to three per cent to 2.72 million.
On the basis that sheep disposals continue to hold strong for the remainder of the year, total throughputs for 2014 will surpass the 2.61 million mark achieved in 2013 to reach 2.7 million head by year end.
With average carcase weight rising by one per cent during the year, sheep meat production is forecast to reach just over 53,000 tonnes, equivalent to a four per cent increase on last year.
TheMeatSite News Desk