There is no justification in the marketplace for attempts by factories to drop lamb prices.

This is according to the sheep committee chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Kevin Comiskey, who was speaking in the context of pulls of up to 20c/kg in lamb prices.

Kevin said: “Hogget numbers have all but dried up at this stage and lamb supplies are running 5,000/week below last year’s levels.

“Demand for sheepmeat is strong and will increase as the Eid al-Adha festival approaches in July.

“Live shippers are already active in the marts, buying lambs for this trade and freely paying well above what some factories are offering for lambs.

“Farmers should strongly resist the attempts by factories to reduce prices and consider the mart outlet if factories are not stepping up to the plate where live export buying is underpinning the trade,” he added.

Comiskey claimed that the importation of over 4,000 lambs from Northern Ireland by factories the week before some decided to attempt to drop prices to Irish farmers does not “stack up”.

“There is strong demand for lamb in the marketplace and this must come through to farmer in strong stable prices for sheepmeat to reflect on-farm production costs,” the sheep chair concluded.