IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said the lamb trade is stronger this week with tighter supplies, increased demand for Bastille Day and the end of Ramadan in mid-July, and farmers refusing to take the lower factory quotes.
He said factories are paying €4.70 to €4.80/kg to get lambs and some prices of up to €5.00/kg to get supplies. Some factories are offering up to €5.00/kg for lighter carcases of 15 to 18kg. In addition, there has been a strong increase in mart prices as the week progressed.
John Lynskey said farmers have dug in hard and are not prepared to move lambs at the lower quoted prices. In addition, he said supplies have tightened and demand has pushed on.
The trade in the UK has also witnessed significant increases with prices at auction marts on Tuesday July 7th up by 6p to 19p/kg on the previous week. He said SQQ mart prices were ranging from 160p to 170p/kg lw, which is equivalent to €4.97 to €5.28/kg.
At a meeting with MII and the meat factories last week, John Lynskey said IFA made it very clear to the factories the recent lamb price cuts were unacceptable and it is essential that prices are restored to viable levels to maintain confidence in the sector.
He said the factories accepted that strong viable lamb prices are essential for producer returns and the price cuts of recent weeks have created real problems for producers. He said an immediate positive response from the factories is required. “Both processors and retailers have a major responsibility to restore prices to viable levels and prevent any undermining of the market.”
The IFA Sheep Chairman said the strength of sterling against the Euro, compared to last year, gives a real advantage of over 50c/kg to Irish exporters over their UK counterparts going into the EU.
John Lynskey said the meeting also discussed the need for increased promotional activity from both Bord Bia and the retailers to boost domestic demand. The need for the factories to increase carcase weights as the season progresses was also raised by the IFA.
The meeting between IFA and MII also discussed the need for increased direct supports for the sheep sector, market access issues especially to China and the USA, the importance of the sheep sector in the context of the Agri-Strategy 2025 and sheep tagging and EID.