‘Processors need to recognise the extra costs in the spring lamb sector’

If the spring lamb sector is to be viable, we need processors to recognise the extra labour and costs that go in to this unique product, ICSA Sheep Chairman John Brooks has said.

He has criticised the factories for failing to pay an adequate amount for spring lamb.

“Again we have seen the failure of processors to pay a fair price for this highly specialised product.

“The spring lamb sector needs a minimum of €7.00/kg to make it viable. It involves a much-specialised production process with ewes lambed in the depths of winter.

“Planning for this starts back in June or July in order to have lambs on the ground fourteen weeks prior to Easter Sunday to ensure the supply is there to meet demand at this peak time.”

Brooks said that the butchers have once again stepped up to the mark and paid in excess of €7.00/kg and that all credit must be given to them.

In addition, he said that they are prepared to pay this amount for up to 22kg whereas the factories are continuing to use the unfair 20kg cut off for spring lamb.

“This is in direct contrast to what I’m hearing from butchers who regard a 22kg carcase as the optimum weight for spring lamb.”

The ICSA Sheep Chairman also said that we need to see flexibility on the 20kg maximum weight issue if farmers are to see any rewards for their efforts.