IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy has accused the factories of completely undermining the lamb price with total disregard for sheep farm incomes.
He said “The price-cutting tactics of the factories in the last two weeks have plunged the sheep sector into an income crisis”.
Sean Dennehy said the factory price cuts are destroying any chance of an income from sheep farming this year. “Lamb prices and hogget prices are down €1.50/kg on this time last year. This is equivalent to a price cut of over €30 per lamb, way more than the entire net margin in a sheep enterprise, based on Teagasc NFS data.”
He said it is an absolute scandal that they are paying more for old cull ewes than new season spring lamb.
Sean Dennehy said lamb factories need to stop cutting prices and undermining the lamb market. “The price-cutting tactic of the factories is completely undermining the market and destroying sheep farmers’ incomes. We need price stability at this critical time,” he said.
IFA is meeting the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed tomorrow (Tues) and will be demanding that he challenges the factories on their price-cutting agenda.
Sean Dennehy said IFA Sheep Committee members are meeting with a number of the major lamb factories this week to highlight the impact of the excessive price cuts on farm incomes.
IFA has also been in contact with Bord Bia demanding that their promotional programmes be brought forward to take account of the fact that spring lambs are coming to market a lot earlier this year.
The IFA Sheep Chairman advised flock owners to draft and select stock on a weekly basis at this time of year. “With the good spring, lambs are finishing well and it is essential farmers don’t allow lambs into overweight condition. This is only giving factories free lamb and makes no sense.”
Spring lambs are making from as low a quote of €5.50/kg to top prices of €5.80/kg including bonuses. In general farmers are getting €5.65 to €5.75/kg and rejecting the low quotes from the factories.
Hoggets are ranging from €4.60 to €4.80/kg. Sean Dennehy called on the factories to stop the price cuts, stabilise the market and increase their quotes back up to realistic levels.