Sheep farmers are furious with the unjustified price cuts lambs are receiving which looks set to continue into next week, according to Sean McNamara.

The sheep chair of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has criticised factories for hammering farmers with massive price cuts for next week.

He said: “Again, we are seeing these hugely profitable meat processors inflicting serious hardship on their suppliers with savage price cuts.

“Farmers need every cent they can get at the moment to stay going, but the processors – yet again – appear to only be thinking about maintaining their own pockets.

“Earlier this week quotes for spring lamb were coming in at upwards of €7.40/kg, now we are hearing quotes of a ridiculously low €6.80/kg for next week.

“There is no possible way factories can justify slashing over 60c/kg off the price of spring lamb in one fell swoop. Sheep farmers are furious about this, and they have every right to be,” he said.

“Factory agents are telling us they don’t have the markets which is just not good enough.

“Certainly, if it is the case then Bord Bia have a lot to answer for.

Sheep farmers are relying on Bord Bia to market our premium spring lamb and we won’t put up with factories telling us they are slashing prices because they don’t have adequate markets for what we are producing,” Sean added.

“This only adds to the frustration already out there around Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) membership being a requirement for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes when Bord Bia does not seem to be able to find a solution for this alleged lack of demand for lamb.

“Farmers are being failed left, right, and centre. Input costs have gone through the roof and we are all really struggling to stay afloat, particularly those of us in the low-income beef, sheep, and suckler sectors.

“All we are asking is for a fair price for our produce and for factories, retailers, consumers, and the Government to get to grips with the reality that food cannot be produced out of thin air.”