Lamb prices are stabilising due to tight supplies and strong market returns. This is according to Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) sheep committee chairman James Murphy, who said there was no market justification for the severe price cuts of the past two weeks.
“Lamb supplies are in very tight supply and farmers should strongly resist the price cuts,” he said. “With factory prices of €5.30 to €5.50/kg being paid this week, lamb prices have stabilised and with very tight supplies and strong market returns up to €6.00/kg, factories have an opportunity to restore base prices back up towards €5.50/kg.”
The IFA met numerous lamb factories across the country last week. Murphy said the IFA representatives told them of the anger and frustration among sheep farmers about the way they had pulled down lamb prices to loss-making levels for sheep farmers.
“The industry had attempted to take advantage of sheep farmers following exceptionally high costs this spring and the fodder crisis. There was no reason why lamb prices cannot rebound somewhat as market returns are strong and supplies remain very tight. In addition, Bord Bia are in the middle of their main TV promotional campaign and retailers are driving consumption with special offers.
Murphy said the IFA also met SuperValu last week, one of the largest lamb retailer in the home market. “The IFA made it very clear to SuperValu, the real difficulties sheep farmers have encountered this spring and the increased cost involved. The IFA also highlighted the important role SuperValu play with the largest processor on lamb prices, and their collective responsibility to support the price.”
IFA also met with the National Farmers Union in the UK last week on lamb prices. “The clear message from the UK is prices are reasonably stable at the equivalent of €6.00/kg. The NFU also stressed the importance that Irish processors do not undermine the export market in France with cheaper product,” Murphy added.