There are unfortunately no bright prospects on the horizon for the 2024 wool season clip. Global demand remains sluggish with a continued COVID-19 induced hangover in the Chinese economy curtailing demand. China dominates the global wool trade and has a massive influence on prices.

The price of wool in Ireland has fallen from 60c/kg-80c/kg before the pandemic to just 5c/kg to 20c/kg in recent years. More stringent environmental restrictions have also seen some processors exiting the sector.

Minister McConalogue this week stated that as wool is a globally traded commodity Irish farmers are exposed to the full rigours of global trade. He said that his Department’s support in establishing the Irish Grown Wool Council will hopefully help carve out niche demand and encourage farmers to join the National Sheep Welfare Scheme (NSWS), which offers a support payment for shearing.

Farmers have until 21 May to join the one-year scheme, which offers a payment of €8 per ewe. All sheep farmers should strongly consider participating.


The NSWS will also help to increase rates of clostridial disease vaccination and plunge dipping. This Focus features detail timely tips on vaccination protocols, while we also include a useful guide to controlling blowfly strike, ticks and other external parasites.

Reports indicate lameness has become a growing issues on many farms and this is supported by preliminary results from a Teagasc lameness survey showing approximately 50% of respondents recorded a case of Contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) in their flock. There is still time to participate in the survey.

Grant aid support is critical to farmers investing in sheep handling facilities, but unfortunately the level of support in the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme is insufficient to allow farmers invest in the best units available. This issue is highlighted by Martin Merrick.