It’s not very often that the sheep sector gets a jolt that would make even the most enduring of farmers sit up straight. This week sheep farmers got a number of such shocks.

The first came on Monday night at the IFA sheep price meeting in Athlone when the Teagasc sheep leader Michael Gottstein showed the 2022 net margin per ewe, before a labour charge for the farmer is included, was €7 per ewe down from €39 per ewe the year previous.