IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy said hogget supplies are disappearing fast and both retailers and factories need to make the change over to Spring Lamb.
James Murphy said for the tight supplies of Hoggets factories are paying €5.40/€5.50 kg and finding it very difficult to get numbers. He said factories are quoting much lower prices but failing to get numbers at the quoted prices.
He pointed out that Hogget prices in the UK had moved up to €5.50/kg incl. vat and grade 1 hoggets in France were making €5.90kg incl. vat last week according to Bord Bia.
James Murphy said Spring Lambs are making €6.05/€6.20kg with factories attempting to pull quotes below €6.00/kg. He said “this price pull is totally unjustified with Bord Bia reporting new Season Lamb the equivalent of over €7.00/kg in the UK and €6.70/kg in France last Friday.”
The IFA sheep farmer’s leader said the negative pressure on Spring Lamb so early in the season would backfire on factories. He said the factories tactics will drive the small few early lamb supplies left in the system out and they will replace the production with imports.
James Murphy said early lamb producers are also very angry by the way factories are forcing down returns by cutting prices and weights. By limiting weights to 20kg, the factories are literally taking free meat off of early lamb producers.
The IFA Sheep Farmer leader said the factories should strongly support Spring Lamb prices this early in the season and allow weights up to at least 21kg in order to enable farmers to cover the massive increase in feed costs this spring.
James Murphy said. “the IFA will be meeting the main retailers over the next two to three weeks and will be calling for a 15c/kg quality assurance bonus. He said it’s now time the lamb factories stepped up to the mark on quality assurance and introduced a bonus of 15c/kg for this season.”