Factories ‘shredding’ lamb price ‘lining their own pockets’ – IFA

Factories have been accused of shredding the lamb price in the last two weeks, destroying farmers’ incomes and lining their own pockets, by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Slamming processors, IFA sheep chairman Sean Dennehy said “either the factories are very bad at selling lamb, or they are lining their own pockets at the expense of their farmer suppliers”.

Dennehy said that this same week last year lamb prices were €5.80/kg. This week, factories have cut prices to €5.00-5.10/kg, which is 70c-80c/kg or €14-17 per lamb down on last year’s price.

With lamb prices in supermarkets the same as last year, farmers believe the factories are lining their own pockets at the expense of farmers. Factories have a lot of explaining to do.

“With some retailers charging €15/kg for loin chops and €14.49/kg for legs, somebody other than the farmer is making a lot of money out of lamb.”

Dennehy said imported lamb was being used to undermine prices to local factory suppliers.

“There are reports of lamb being imported from as far away as Australia to keep prices down. This is an utter scandal.”

The chairman said farmers are very angry with reports that some factories are importing lambs from Scotland and England through Northern Ireland.

He said the same factories are telling their local loyal suppliers they have to cut the price every week.

Dennehy called on the factories to stop the race to the bottom with their price cuts.

In addition, he said the factories have held back on weight limits and need to move up carcass weights to 21.5kg immediately. He said some plants had moved up to 21kg this weekend.

“IFA is also demanding that the bonus for quality assurance be increased to 30c/kg,” he added.

He called for the carcass weight on ewes to move up to at least 45kg at the factories.

He said in the marts, ewes were making €1.20/kg last week, which is well above the factory price taking account of the restrictive weight limit some plants are applying.

He said this week factories are paying €5.00 to €5.10/kg to get lambs. Ewes are a stronger trade, making €3.00/kg.