Lamb price cuts ‘destroying sheep farmers’ incomes’- IFA

Lamb price cuts by factories are “undermining the market” and “destroying sheep farmers incomes”, according to the national sheep chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Sean Dennehy argued that factories must cease the price cuts, which are “robbing farmers of any chance” of an income from early lambs.

“The price cutting tactic of the factories is completely undermining the market and destroying sheep farmers’ incomes. We need price stability at this critical time,” insisted Dennehy.

He highlighted the current returns on lambs, with spring lambs making €6.10/kg to €6.30/kg, and hoggets making €5/kg to €5.30/kg for suitable lots.

“This time last year spring lambs and hoggets were making €1/kg more, which is equivalent to €20 to €23 per head, or all of the profit from a sheep enterprise,” he added, arguing that price cuts so far this year had been “excessive”.

Dennehy also urged flock owners to draft and select stock on a weekly basis at this time of year.

He said: “With the good spring, lambs are finishing well and it is essential farmers don’t allow lambs into overweight condition. This is only giving factories free lamb and makes no sense.”

EID tagging

Following revelations that marts and factories would not be obligated to install infrastructure for reading EID tags, Dennehy argued that this was “completely unacceptable”.

Responding to a recent parliamentary question, Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, suggested that some facilities will not have the capability to read EID tags.

The minister said that “where it is not feasible for marts to upgrade their facilities to ‘central points of recording’ (CPRs) requirements”, farmers will still have to record the individual number of each sheep, or print out the tag numbers.