Prices are steady coming into this week but already, one factory has made moves to put downward pressure on prices for hoggets.

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) sheep chair, Sean McNamara told Agriland that the cut of 25c/kg by Irish Country Meats on hogget base quotes at the start of this week was “disgraceful”, and islikely the start of factories looking to put downward pressure on prices.

“We have seen this tactic by factories before and last I remember it backfired and hopefully that is the case again,” Seán said.

“Scaremongering is what you could describe that tactic to cut base prices by 25c/kg, as €7.30-7.40/kg is still on table for hoggets.

“Factories had a good run of it coming up to Easter and all the way through to the end of Ramadan, with strong supplies of sheep throughout that period coming through the system.

“Hopefully, we don’t see any more of these tactics of cutting prices from other factories, as prices as they stand are still not where they need to be,” he continued.

“Hogget supplies are drying up fast and I can’t see where spring lambs are going to come from to make up for that tightening of supplies of hoggets, as grass is still not growing like it should be for the time of year.

“As hoggets dry up further, farmers need to be getting more for the spring lambs they are producing. I’ve said it before but €10/kg is needed for spring lamb to leave farmers with a small margin at the end of it.

“Input costs are too high for what farmers are getting for what they are producing and we need to see more as it’s scary to see the amount of farmers selling lambs and then selling the ewes after, not seeing any future in it with the cost of everything currently,” he concluded.