The Irish Farmers Association has accused factories of undermining the lamb market with ‘unjustified’ and ‘totally excessive’ lamb price cuts.
IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said that sheep farmers have already come through a difficult spring with major cost increases and are upset at how the factories have ‘pulled the rug’ on lamb prices this week.
“Factory price cuts like we have seen this week seriously damage the market and erode farmer confidence in the sector,” he said.
Resisting The Pull
The IFA highlighted how farmers are also part of the market and are operating on very low incomes with the most recent Teagasc figures revealing the average sheep farmer’s income is €16,897 per year.
Farmers are resisting the price pull on lamb price cuts and Dennehy said that last week’s kill was back to 53,063 – down 7,344 on the same week last year. In addition, the spring lamb kill was 27,249 compared to 36,761 for the same week last year.
Top prices of €6.50/kg were paid on Monday and up to €6.40/kg was being paid yesterday (May 30), despite the factories quoting much lower.
Dennehy added, ‘clearly the lower quotes from the factories are an attempt to force farmers out with stock, which the figures show is in relatively tight supply.’
He suggested that farmers should only market lambs when they are fully fit as severe price sanctions are being imposed on underweight lambs and hoggets in nearly all of the plants.
The IFA has also been calling on co-ops to set a supportive tone for milk prices, with National Dairy Chairman Tom Phelan saying that co-ops purchasing milk have a responsibility to all milk producers to set a fair price.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.