Sheep farmers should reject ‘unrealistic’ factory prices – IFA

Sheep farmers should not accept the “unrealistic low-quoted prices” offered by the meat factories this week for lamb, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Speaking on the issue, IFA National Sheep Committee chairman Sean Dennehy accused the factories of “trying to undermine the market at this key time of the year, when prices should be peaking”.

Dennehy said, despite some quotes as low as €5.00/kg, factories are having to pay €5.50 to €5.60/kg for hoggets and up to €1.00/kg more for spring lambs.

Some larger finishers were securing deals above these price levels, he added.

The chairman said, with Ramadan beginning on the first week of May, demand for lamb should continue strong and supplies will remain tight.

“The factories are trying their hardest to undermine the market and pay lower prices to farmers, which in turn will hit farm income.

“Farmers must resist this and insist on prices significantly above the low quoted prices,” Dennehy concluded.

Meanwhile, in 2018, the numbers of sheep in Ireland experienced a drop of 87,800 head – or 1.7% of the overall national flock – according to figures recently released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The figures for June 2018 that were released last week outline that the total number of sheep was 5,109,300 in June 2017.

The number of non-breeding sheep was down 2.3% and breeding sheep was down 1.1% when compared to June 2017 levels.