IFA National Sheep Committee Chair Kevin Comiskey said supplies of suitably finished lambs are tight on the ground and the lower kill out rates this year has reduced the volumes of sheep meat being processed.
He said despite persisting in lowering quotes factories are anxious for lambs and offering various deals on transport and other charges to entice sellers, bringing prices up to the equivalent of €6.90 to €7.00/kg in some deals.
Kevin Comiskey said factories must recognise the costs of production sheep farmers are facing this year and reflect it in lamb prices.
He said the behaviour over the past few weeks and this week in particular only serves to undermine confidence in the sector.
The IFA National Sheep Committee Chair said store lamb sales have started out well but it is critical farmers see a commitment from factories to return strong lamb prices to underpin this trade.
Demand for cull ewes is strong with prices ranging from €3.60/kg to €4.00/kg.
He said tight supplies of well fleshed lambs has increased competition between butchers and wholesalers in some marts adding to the pressures on factory agents to secure supplies.
Kevin Comiskey said farmers should sell hard, consider the mart outlet and be mindful of the lower kill outs this year when drafting lambs.