IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey has said price cuts from the lamb factories this week are a step too far and are inflicting severe income damage on the sheep sector.
He said sheep farmers are angry that the factories moved so hard and so quickly with price cuts of 30 to 50c/kg in the last week and are now quoting below €5.00/kg.
John Lynskey said IFA has been in contact with MII and is arranging a meeting with the lamb factories. He called on the factories to stop the price cuts and stabilise the market. He said some of the messages from some factories and agents to farmers this week were extremely unhelpful and only contributed to destabilising the market.
He said farmers were resisting the price pressure but needed to move lambs as they become fit. He said despite lower quotes, some factories had committed to paying some farmers €5.20 to €5.30/kg into Thursday and Friday this week.
With Bord Bia reporting prices in Britain earlier this week at 174p, equivalent to €5.48/kg, and French price returns for Grade 1 Irish lamb at €5.10/5.20/kg, it is clear the factories are jumping ahead of the market and could have avoided going below €5.00/kg. He said with the strong sterling exchange rate, Irish factories have a big advantage on UK suppliers going into Europe.
John Lynskey called for increased retail promotions on the domestic market. He said this was important to shift volumes at this time of increased supplies. He added the Ramadan market response was disappointing and hopefully there be a better response at the end of Ramadan in mid-July.
John Lynskey said sheep farmers are very dependent on lamb price for their incomes and many producers selling lambs to date have incurred high costs with meal feeding. He said it is of vital importance that lamb prices are stabilised and maintained at viable levels to maintain confidence in the sector.