IFA Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey has strongly criticised factories for the unjustified attempts to weaken lamb prices.
He said factories quoting prices that in no way reflect the current market have undermined farmers who have made commitments to finish lambs at a time when production costs are at an all-time high.
Market conditions for sheep meat are favourable in our key export markets. Prices in UK and French markets have been steadily rising in the run-up to Christmas on the back of tight lamb supplies and this must be reflected in prices offered by factories.
“Sheep farmers are under enormous pressure with costs of production which have increased significantly by over 30% this year. Farmers do not have the capacity to absorb these costs and current prices are not sufficient to cover the substantial increase in production costs,” he said.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said numbers of suitable fleshed lambs are tight on the ground and there is no rationale to weaken lamb prices.
He said this behaviour by factories only serves to undermine confidence within the sheep sector and he called on factories to increase prices at this critical time for farmers.
He said factories are offering €6.60kg to €6.80kg on weights to 23kg, with higher deals available for larger and specialised lots. Cull ewes are making from €3.10kg to €3.50kg.