IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy said there is major anger and frustration among sheep farmers against the way the lamb factories had pulled down lamb prices to loss- making levels for sheep farmers. He accused the industry of attempting to take advantage of sheep farmers following the exceptionally high cost spring and fodder crisis.
James Murphy said some factories are bluntly telling farmers that they don’t want their lambs unless they can get them cheaper. In the last week, some factories have slashed prices by 70c to €1/kg or €15 to €20 per lamb.
“This is a disaster for early lamb producers and sheep farmers, particularly in one of the most difficult and high cost years on record. Incomes and cash flow are in a very bad place after the severe spring and fodder crisis. The factories are attempting to take full advantage of the vulnerable position sheep farmers now find themselves in.”
James Murphy said factories were scaremongering farmers and threating them that if they did not sell at the lower quoted prices they would get less next week. He accused some factories of attempting to back up supplies and create a panic to undermine prices and the market. He said these moves by factories will seriously damage the fragile confidence in early lamb and the broader sheep sector.
The IFA Sheep farmer’s leader said there was no market justification for the severe price cuts this week. He said lamb supplies are in very tight supply and farmers should strongly resist the price cuts.
James Murphy said this is a critical period for lamb prices and he warned the factories against moves to undermine prices and the market. He said the domestic market is very strong and Irish exporters are the main players on the export markets at this time of year as UK lamb has not yet arrived.
He said with the unprecedented weather and fodder problems this Spring, production costs were exceptionally high and farmers simply could not afford excessive factory price cuts.