The volume of Irish sheepmeat exported to both the UK and France climbed during the first three quarters of 2016, according to the AHDB (the body for English beef and lamb).

The AHDB says that Irish exports of fresh and frozen sheepmeat have been above year earlier levels for eight of the nine months in the first three quarters of 2016, with the volume shipped sitting at 35,500t - an increase of 13% on the same period in 2015.

Looking at the volumes of Irish sheepmeat shipped to France, the AHDB says Ireland has been particularly successful in this market, with volumes up 21% during the first nine months of 2016 compared to the same time last year.

This, it says, is notable as France has been importing less sheepmeat overall this year, while the volume of UK shipments has also declined.

Moving on to the UK, it also indicates that the volume of Irish product shipped to our nearest trading partner has climbed in 2016.

Between January and September, it says, Irish exporters shipped 8,260t of product across the Irish sea, an increase of 5% on the same time in 2015.

Meanwhile, it says the value of these exports increased ahead of volume, reaching €36.3m, due to price rises for fresh/chilled bone in cuts.

Why have Irish sheepmeat exports increased

According to the AHDB, lower sheepmeat production in the UK required additional supplies of Irish sheepmeat, despite the weaker Sterling reducing competitiveness.

However, it says, the Irish lamb reference price has remained below the UK price in Sterling terms, suggesting that prices have continued to be reasonable attractive on the UK market.

Falling New Zealand and Australian lamb supplies are also likely to have helped Irish exports in making gains on the UK market, it says.