Sheep slaughterings increased by 4.3% during the period January to October 2020, with over 2.6m already processed, data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has shown.
The sheep trade remains in positive form, with factories remaining keen to operate at a high level of throughput, but continuing to struggle to source numbers.
Producers are in a strong position of securing returns of €5.50/kg without requiring stronger negotiating power.
The number of cattle slaughtered increased by 2.3%, with nearly 1.6m head already processed.
Beef quotes rose 10c/kg to 15c/kg this week, as Christmas buying and Brexit drive a very strong demand.
Factories are starting to stockpile chilled beef in the UK for the January market.
Pig slaughterings are also up, having risen by 1.4%.
An analysis of October 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 shows that cattle slaughterings decreased by 5.7%, sheep fell by 7.6%, and pig slaughterings increased by 2.3%.