Commodity Watch - Future Proofing your sheep enterprise and Sheep Market Insight

Friday, 13 September, 2019

Commodity Watch - Future Proofing your sheep enterprise and Sheep Market Insight by Daryl McLaughlin

Two events will take place this year for the bi-annual Sheep Conference. Wednesday 2 October 2019 at Greenmount Campus and on Thursday 3 October 2019 at the Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh. Both events will commence at 6:00pm. Event includes a light supper.  

The conference will focus on a range of topics to include improving lamb production from grass, benefits of using good genetics, protecting your flock from Ovine Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma (OPA) and maximising market returns. 

All speakers will provide valuable information to help you improve and strengthen the performance of your sheep enterprise.

Please note conference cost is £15/person and this includes a light buffet which will be served at 6pm.

If interested in attending, please book via the UFU website:

If you have any difficulties booking online, please contact Angela Scott at UFU Headquarters on 028 9037 0222.


Sheep Market Insight

2019 has been a very challenging year for many sheep farmers and in particular when it has come to farm gate price. 2018 farm gate lamb price average was 441p/kg which has been the highest in the past 4 years. 2019 average price is running at 415p/kg which is 26p/kg less than the previous year. The average deadweight lamb price last week was 362p/kg and compared to the same period in 2018 this was 388p/kg a difference of £5.46 on a 21kg/deadweight lamb.

Prices for sheep meat in the EU have fallen compared to last year on average over the year to date. Production of sheep meat in the EU was up 1% in June to 55,000 tonnes. In the year to June production was up 2% to 358,000 tonnes compared to the previous year. 

Imports into the EU were down 20% in the year to date, mainly due to a 19% reduction in imports coming from New Zealand and 20% reduction from Australia. Exports out of the EU as a whole were up 4% in the first half of the year.

UK has increased exports within the EU, sending more to France and Germany, 15% and 61% more in the year to date respectively. Most of these exports have gone in the second quarter of the year. The UK has also increased its exports to countries outside of the EU by 4%, which is a positive development ahead of leaving the EU. The three main UK lamb export countries are Ghana, Hong Kong and Jordan. Hong Kong has taken approximately 41% of UK lamb exports from Jan-June 2019.

Approximately 800,000 lambs are produced for slaughter in NI, 50% slaughtered in ROI and in total 75% of NI lamb crop final destination is the EU. This show the significant impact Brexit could have for the whole NI sheep industry.

The UFU President has written to the current Prime Minister Boris Johnston and the Beef & Lamb Chairman Sam Chesney has written to the NI Sec of State Julian Smith, DAERA Permanent Secretary Denis McMahon and to the 5 main NI Political Parties (SF, DUP, UUP, SDLP, Alliance) to highlight the concerns that UFU members have in relation to the current concerns around the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in relation to a NO Deal exit and has given them a copy of key Government priorities for the beef and sheep sector.