IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy said at current prices, hogget finishers are in a serious loss making situation. He said farmers need to see a significant and immediate improvement in prices and overall market conditions.
James Murphy said farmers who buy store lambs and finished hoggets at this time of the year are a critical component of the Irish sheep sector. He said it is absolutely essential that these farmers make a margin over the cost of production.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said in the current market climate, there will be a lot of focus on processors and lamb imports. The latest information showing imports from Great Britain into Northern Ireland was a worrying market trend.
James Murphy said at current prices finishers are struggling to cover their costs, taking account of the substantial increase in feed prices this year. In addition, the severe weather and wetland conditions have restricted feeding options and impacted negatively on lamb thrive, all adding to costs.
James Murphy said IFA has been in contact with the NFU in the UK and the FNO (French sheep farmers) in France on the lamb price crisis. He said the three groups are set to meet in order to halt any under-selling in an attempt to try and stabilise the market.
In addition, James Murphy said IFA would be organising a round of meetings with the various processors and retailers on the lamb price situation over the coming weeks.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said the impact on prices at the marts for store lambs and light lambs was very worrying. He said a lot more work needs to be done in order to get a better outlet and market for light lamb off the hills.