Farmers urged to ‘bargain hard’ during strong lamb trade

Farmers are being urged to “bargain hard” due to a strengthening trade for lambs.

Sean Dennehy, the sheep chairperson for the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), noted that prices paid to farmers are stronger than the last few weeks, with €5.10/kg to 5.20/kg “freely available”.

“Some deals are available for regular sellers or large groups for €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg. When all bonuses are included, some producer groups are achieving €5.35/kg. Ewes are making €2.60/kg to €2.80/kg. There is a strong mart trade for all categories,” Dennehy argued.

Dennehy reminded farmers to be mindful that the base price does not reflect the price paid to farmers at the moment, adding that, when you add the quality assurance (QA) bonus, “considerably more can be achieved”.

“When the base price is taken as it is and a farmer is not quality assured, the extent to which the base price is out of kilter is clearly evident,” he argued.

Dennehy said that the IFA had taken this up with Meat Industry Ireland (MII) as it reduces the price to producer groups.

“At this stage, the base price is so far removed from reality, it’s unfit for purpose,” the IFA sheep chairperson claimed.

Factories are also competing in marts for lambs weighing 39kg and heavier. Some of these lambs would usually have been fed on. This will also reduce numbers available in the short and medium term.

“These factors suggest a stable price over the next few weeks,” Dennehy concluded.