IFA Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy has criticised factories for the unjustified cuts to lamb prices this week.
He said market conditions are strong and the numbers of suitable lambs are tight. This attempt by factories is opportunistic and unjustified.
Prices offered are ranging from €6.20 to €6.30/kg, with some factories trying to buy lambs for less. Cull ewes are making €2.90 to €3.10/kg.
“Farmers are rightly holding out for prices of €6.40 and €6.50/kg, which were available at the end of last week in similar market conditions, and have set these prices as the base line,” he said.
Farmers should sell hard as factories are finding it difficult to fill supermarket orders with the numbers of lambs available to them.
The extra 55,000 lambs processed in 2020, combined with increased retention of ewe lambs, is reducing the numbers available to factories.
The latest supermarket sales figures to the end of 2020 show continued strong performance of lamb at retail level, which is underpinning the trade where both volume and value of lamb sales are showing significant growth.
Volume has increased by 14% and price by 4%, contributing to overall spend on lamb increasing by over 18%, compared to 2019.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said numbers are projected to remain tight and the strong retail performance will drive the trade. “There is reduced volumes of imported lamb in the EU market which is also contributing to the strong market demand,” he said.
He said strong and stable market conditions and tight supplies must be reflected in the lamb prices and current price reductions attempted by factories are unjustified.