Lamb Trade at a Critical Juncture
IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said the lamb trade is stable this week with factories paying €4.80 to €4.90/kg and some top prices of €4.95/kg. He said the kill remains strong driven by meal feeding since the drought but expect that supplies will tighten in the weeks ahead. He said the ewe kill is big and factories are paying €2.60/2.80/kg.
Sean Dennehy said sheep farmers are approaching a critical time in relation to future plans on ewe numbers and it is essential that factories send a more positive signal to flock owners on lamb prices. He said farmers need a minimum of €100 per lamb and at prices at €4.80/kg, many lambs are struggling to make this.
Sean Dennehy said the factories must show greater commitment to flock owners and strong viable lamb prices are essential for farmers to have confidence on ewe numbers. He said it is very concerning to see that cull ewe slaughtering’s are up 48,000 head this year. He said “2018 has been an extremely difficult year for sheep farmers, through a combination of major losses last winter, huge increase in feed costs including throughout the summer”.
The IFA Sheep farmers leader said sheep farmers are annoyed and angry that some lambs were sent home again this week from some meat plants under the Department of Agriculture Clean Lamb Policy. He said in a dry week where lambs were coming clean off grass this was unacceptable and the Department needed to come to their senses and adopt a more practical and sensible approach which will not damage the sheep sector. He said IFA was arranging a meeting with the Department on the operation of the policy this autumn.