The IFA has said it has been in contact with senior management in Kepak Athleague over the imposition of “unfair and unnecessary” cuts on the grading of lambs and price penalties following the recent factory blockades.
Its national sheep chairman, Sean Dennehy, confirmed that it has sought a meeting with Kepak.
The farm organisation has requested the Department of Agriculture to review and audit the grading in Kepak following "reports from farmers that there has been an increase in the volume of fat grade 5 lambs".
New cuts of 50c/kg
Dennehy said that the IFA has made it clear to Kepak that the new cuts of 50c/kg on fat class 5 lambs and heavier lambs are “unacceptable and over the top”.
“Many lamb suppliers were loyal to Kepak during the recent beef blockades and held their lambs until the factory re-opened.”
“It’s totally unfair that these loyal suppliers are now facing severe penalties on heavier lambs, just because they held them for Kepak.”
Back €11/hd on last year
Dennehy said lamb prices are well back on last year. “Through a combination of factory price cuts compared to last year, weight restrictions and the imposition of EID charges, farmers are now taking €11/head less for their lambs.”
On top of this, he added, farmers also have to pay €1.27/head of an SRM charge and 71c/head of a scrapie charge on ewes.
The farm organisation is demanding that carcase weights be immediately moved up to 22 kgs at this time of year. “Normally on Oct 1st weights rise to a minimum of 22kgs and some plants are paying some farmers up to this level.”
“The prices cuts over recent weeks have seen lamb price drop significantly below the critical €5.00/kg mark and has left sheep farmers seriously struggling financially.” he concluded.