Lamb supplies are “extremely tight” this week, swinging control “back in farmers’ favour”, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has claimed.

Commenting, IFA National Sheep Committee chairman Sean Dennehy said factories are “struggling” to secure lambs.

Agents are very active in mart sales in attempts to secure lamb supplies, he added.

Dennehy said factories are freely paying €6.30/kg to 21.5kgs, with higher deals on price and weights offered to close out deals.

“Farmers should sell hard in very strong market conditions to maintain control of the trade,” he said.

Continuing, the chairman said farmers should only sell lambs to factories as they become fit.

The very strong store trade is ensuring alternatives for lighter and under finished lambs and it’s keeping the supply-demand balance in favour of farmers, he added.

Dennehy said, based on all projections, there “won’t be an oversupply of lamb for the year” – and orderly marketing is critical to maximise returns.

Cull ewes are making €3.30/kg, with higher deals available, the chairman concluded.

Meanwhile, the sheep chair of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Sean McNamara had a similar message for farmers, claiming “factory tactics of pulling prices appear to have backfired“.

Speaking to Agriland yesterday (Monday, September 20), Sean McNamara said that a steady to improved trade is being seen for lambs at the start of this week.

He said: “Factories are hungry for lambs and their tactics over the last two weeks or so of pulling prices, expecting farmers to panic into selling lambs, seems to have backfired, with prices at the start of this week strengthening.

“In one meat processing plant yesterday, €6.30/kg was widely available for lambs, but factories are doing their best to keep any increase in prices on the down-low.

“Even though some factories are offering a base price less than €6.00/kg, I’d be telling farmers not to accept anything less than €6.00/kg for their lambs.”