IFA President Tim Cullinan has strongly criticised factories for the further unjustified cuts on lamb price this week.
He said the level of price cuts is unsustainable and sheep farmers cannot be expected to absorb reductions on this scale in a year when production costs are predicted to increase by 30%.
Factories are offering deals up to €6.70/kg and deals to 22kg to secure lambs, but they are meeting very strong resistance from farmers.
“Store lamb sales have started positive, but it’s crucial factories return a fair price to underpin this trade for the remainder of the year,” he said.
IFA Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey said supplies of suitable finished lambs are very tight on the ground and there was no rationale for the cuts imposed by factories this week.
He said there is no huge surge of lambs coming through the system as total spring throughput to date is running 12% behind last year’s levels.
Bord Bia predict supplies of imported lamb into the EU market will remain low for the remainder of the year, while EU lamb production is forecast to be back 2%, creating favourable conditions for Irish lamb.
Following a market update meeting with Bord Bia, Kevin Comiskey stressed the importance of continued promotional activities of Irish lamb overseas in order to deliver new markets for Irish produce and to strengthen the value returned to Irish producers.
He said sheep production is the most environmentally sustainable food production system in the country, but sheep farmers are not been paid for it by the market.
The IFA Chairman said demand for sheep meat is strong in our key export markets and factories must ensure these positive market conditions are reflected in prices paid to farmers.