Factories have ruled out introducing new guidelines on lamb carcass weights presented to them by IFA at a meeting last Friday.

An IFA delegation lead by the newly elected President Joe Healy and IFA Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey met with Meat Industry Ireland (MII) on Friday to try and stabilise the sheep trade.

At the meeting, Lynskey proposed the following carcass weight cut-off guidelines to MII (the association representing sheep and beef factories).

Proposed 2016 cut-off carcass weights:
  • April and May carcass weights of 21kg
  • Rising to 21.5kg from 1st June
  • 22kg from mid-July
  • 22.5kg from September 1
  • 23kg from mid-October
  • 23.5kg from December 1

However, MII’s Senior Director Cormac Healy ruled out the proposed carcass weight cut off limits.

“While IFA raised the issue of increasing carcass weight cut-offs at the meeting, processors stressed that customer and consumer demand does not support this.

“The most important thing is that we need to continue the orderly marketing of lambs as they come fit,” he said.

Healy continued to say that the current weakness in the Irish market has been caused by supply and demand problems, particularly in France, where there is a plentiful supply of French and Spanish lamb.

“It is hoped that markets changing over to new season lamb in the weeks ahead could help stabilise the situation, particularly as supplies increase.  Flow of lamb from the UK market will be a relevant factor,” he said.

These comments from the MII representative follow a spring lamb price fall in April, with lamb prices back by €10/head following a 50c/kg drop in factory prices.

Hogget prices have also been affected falling from a base price of 530c/kg during the first week of April to 500c/kg this week.