Sheep farmers are strongly resisting the negative downward pressure from meat plants on lamb prices, Sheep Chairman John Lynskey has said.
He said factories are struggling to get adequate numbers of lambs to meet strong market demand and are having to pay significantly more than the lower quoted prices. He said in a lot of cases factories are paying 20c – 30c/kg above quotes.
The IFA sheep farmer leader said factories were unnecessarily cutting quotes trying to flush out numbers, which is very disappointing at this important time of the season. John Lynskey said IFA met Meat Industry Ireland and the lamb factories recently and highlighted the need for strong viable lamb prices along with price stability. He said sharp price cuts which undermine the market are very damaging.
John Lynskey said market demand for lamb is very strong with recent figures showing that Easter lamb sales were up 10% on the domestic market. In addition he said skins prices are significantly higher than last year, worth up to 20c/kg and some offal prices are also rising.
He said it is very important that farmers select their lambs carefully and sell them as they become fit. He said under fit and overweight lamb should be avoided in order to maximise returns.
John Lynskey said farmers should also consider the option of selling in their mart, where the trade has been very strong to date this year.
The IFA sheep farmer leader told the factories maintaining confidence at farm level is crucial, “Strong stable prices are critical to farm incomes, which are very low on sheep farms. The latest Teagasc National Farm Income survey shows that sheep farm incomes are only €16,011 per annum, of which direct payments account for over 111%.”