Following a meeting of the IFA National Sheep Committee this week, Chairman John Lynskey said hogget finishers should dig in hard and strongly resist the downward pressure from factories on prices and carcase weights.
He said supply figures clearly show that a lot of hoggets have already been sold and remaining numbers will be tight. In addition, he said there will be very limited volumes of spring lamb for another five/six weeks.
John Lynskey said an analysis of supplies shows that hogget numbers are tightening rapidly and the move on price is an attempt by the factories to force out remaining numbers. He said last year the lamb kill was up 67,000 head and so far this year the hogget kill is up 29,000 head. With no additional ewe numbers in the system and Northern imports down last year, this means the hoggets are already slaughtered.
In addition, he said evidence and feedback from hogget finishers around the country is that numbers have already been sold and any remaining supplies will be much tighter than last year, when prices held up well.
John Lynskey said, against this background, hogget finishers should dig in hard and resist the price pressure from the factories.
He said this week factories paid €5.50/5.70 for hoggets but were quoting much lower prices for next week.
On spring lamb, John Lynskey said factories paid €6.10/6.30/kg this week and again were trying to talk down the trade by the end of the week.