Some 20% of sheep farmers surveyed by the Irish Farmers Journal plan on reducing ewe numbers when compared with 2023, while 65% expect to maintain numbers and 15% intend to grow their flock size.

Just under half of those expecting to cut numbers this year expect to do so by 10% or less, with a further 19% planning on reducing them by 11-20%, one-in-eight by 21-40% and over two-in-five indicating that they will reduce their flock size by more than 40%.

Sheep welfare scheme

Farmers were also asked if they had applied for the one-year €8/ewe National Sheep Welfare Scheme announced in Budget 2024 and 83% indicated that they had.