Sheep farmers have been urged by the IFA to resist the downward pressure on prices.
This was the message from the IFA’s Sheep Chairman, John Lynskey.
He says sheep farmers are currently resisting massive negative pressure from Irish Meat plants, trying to lower lamb prices.
He also added that factories are having a hard time sourcing produce with small lamb numbers and a high market demand.
This he says means factories are having to make much more than the lower quoted prices. This he says has resulted in 20-30cents/kg being paid above quotes.
The Sheep Chairman also spoke of factories cutting quotes in a bit to flush out numbers, of which he called very disappointing.
Mr. Lynskey said that the IFA and Meat Industry Ireland have met, along with lamb factory representatives and says the organisation highlighted the need for strong lamb prices.
He added that sharp price cuts are undermining the market.
The Chairman did say that demand for lamb remains strong with Easter lamb sales up 10% on last years numbers. He also added that sheep skin prices are also up on last year by up to 20cent per kg and said some offal prices are also rising.
He had a word of warning for farmers, he urged them to carefully select their lambs and only sell as they become ready. He said underweight lambs should be avoided to help maximise farmer returns.
He did say that sheep farmers should consider selling close to home, in their local marts, ad trade remains very strong for the time of year.
The IFA sheep chairman concluded by telling the factories that maintaining confidence at farm level is crucial, “Strong stable prices are critical to farm incomes, which are very low on sheep farms. The latest Teagasc National Farm Income survey shows that sheep farm incomes are only €16,011 per annum, of which direct payments account for over 111%.”