At a meeting with Meat Industry Ireland in Dublin today, the IFA President Joe Healy made it very clear to the lamb factories that they need to immediately stabilise lamb prices and increase carcase weights at this critically important time for the sheep sector.
The IFA President led a delegation, including National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey and members of the National Sheep Committee, in a meeting with MII and representatives from all of the main lamb processing plants.
IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said it is critical that lamb prices are stabilised and there is no further price upheaval in the changeover from hoggets to new season lamb, which would undermine the market. He said “Sheep farmers have come through an extremely difficult and high cost spring. Early lamb producers cannot afford price hits of €10 to €15 per head.”
John Lynskey said IFA put forward proposals to the meat plants to immediately increase carcase weights to 21kgs. In addition, he said IFA is proposing that weights increase to 21.5kgs from June 1st, 22kgs from mid-July, 22.5kgs from September 1st, 23kgs from mid-October and 23.5kgs from December 1st.
John Lynskey said the balance between supply and demand was very tight with the numbers showing that most of the hoggets have already been processed.
The IFA sheep Chairman said retailers will make the full changeover from hoggets to new season lamb in the next two weeks. In addition, the Muslim festival of Ramadan which begins early this year on June 7th and this should drive demand. Bord Bia promotions will commence and boost consumption on the domestic market towards the end of May. He added that the EU has also committed additional funding to a generic lamb promotional campaign.
The IFA meeting with the lamb factories also discussed a number of other sheep sector issues, including the need for a proper price premium for quality assurance, national and EU sheep sector funding including the work of the new Sheep Reflection Group and Sheep Identification.