IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey has called on the lamb factories to stop the price cuts and stabilise the lamb market. He said the severe price cuts of the last two weeks are inflicting acute income damage on the sheep sector. He added that sheep farmers are angry that the factories moved so hard and so quickly with price cuts of 40c-50c/kg in the last week.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said he met with his UK and French counterparts in Brussels yesterday on the difficulties in the lamb market. He said, “We will be working closely with both the NFU and the French FNO to try and bring some stability to the lamb price situation. It is critically important that the market is not being undermined with cheap lamb”.
IFA has also been in contact with MII and is arranging a meeting with the lamb factories this week. John Lynskey called on the factories to stop the price cuts and stabilise the market. He said some of the messages from some factories and agents to farmers over the last week have been extremely unhelpful and only contributed to destabilising the market.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said farmers were resisting the price pressure but needed to move lambs as they become fit. He said despite lower quotes, some factories were paying €5.00/kg today, with the general run at €4.70 to €4.80/kg.
With Bord Bia reporting French price returns for Grade 1 Irish lamb at up to €5.36/kg incl vat today, John Lynskey said it is clear the factories are jumping ahead of the market and could have avoided going below €5.00/kg. He said with the strong sterling exchange rate, Irish factories have a big advantage on UK suppliers going into Europe and because of the exchange rate their prices are still up at the equivalent of close to €5.00/kg.
John Lynskey called for increased retail promotions on the domestic market. He said this was important to shift volumes at this time of increased supplies. He added the Ramadan market response was disappointing and hopefully there be a better response at the end of Ramadan in mid-July. “Sheep farmers are very dependent on lamb price for their incomes and many producers selling lambs to date have incurred high costs with meal feeding. He said it is of vital importance that lamb prices are stabilised and maintained at viable levels to maintain confidence in the sector.”