IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said the lamb market is stronger this week with factories paying €5.25 to €5.30/kg.
Looking back on 2018, Sean Dennehy said lamb prices were 6% higher than 2017 levels, at an average of €5.32kg, incl. vat. He said, “This was mainly related to strong prices for hogget’s and early lamb and similar mid-season prices”.
IFA campaigned hard on lamb prices throughout 2018, demanding increases to reflect marker returns and meeting the meat factories and MII pushing to maximise returns back to farmers. He said IFA provide twice weekly updates on lamb prices on text, IFA app, ifalegacystagi.wpengine.com and twitter.
Total supplies at the factories were up 39,293 head in 2018, mainly related to an increase in the ewe kill, which was up 60,000.
Sean Dennehy said 2018 will go down as an extremely difficult year income wise, with severe spring weather and summer drought, which inflicted high losses and substantial increased costs, leaving margins very tight.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said religious festivals are important features of the lamb market. For 2019 Easter is on April 21st. Ramadan starts 2 weeks later on May 6th and Eid festival is on Aug 12th.in 2019.
Sean Dennehy said, “For the next 5 years up to 2024, there will be only one to two weeks between Easter and Ramadan, which has significant market implications for the lamb trade”.
IFA is proposing that the QA bonus for lamb be increased to 30c/kg to properly reward farmers and increase participants in the Bord Bia SBLQAS.