The number of hoggets crossing the border for slaughter in Ireland has jumped by 34% in February of this year compared to last year, recent figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) show.

In February Irish processors imported more than 34,000 hoggets from Northern Ireland slaughter in the Republic, the LMC reports.

In the corresponding period in 2015 a total of 25,693 sheep made the journey across the border for direct slaughter.

According to the LMC, this increase has occurred due to the strengthening of the value of euro against Sterling.

The change in the exchange markets has made Northern Irish hoggets less expensive in euro terms and this has resulted in increased demand from processors in the south.

The LMC also says that the stronger euro makes competing on the EU market slightly less challenging for Northern Irish processors.

Price difference between North and South Hoggets

The price difference between Irish and Northern Irish hoggets stood a 5p/kg (6.5c/kg) during February of this year.

According to the LMC data, the average deadweight hogget price in Northern Ireland during February was 399.2p/kg (515c/kg).

This was 3.8p/kg (5c/kg) higher than the 395.4p/kg (510c/kg) paid in February 2015, which is the  equivalent of £0.84 (€1.08) on a 22kg hogget carcass.

In the Republic of Ireland, the average deadweight hogget price for February was the equivalent of 403.9p/kg (521c/kg), 24.8p/kg (32c/kg) higher than the corresponding month in 2015.

This increase accounts for a 6.5% increase in Sterling terms year on year. In euro terms the increase in hogget prices in the Republic was much less pronounced.