John Lynskey, IFA.
IFA National Sheep Chairperson, John Lynskey, has said lamb prices are holding relatively stable with factories paying €4.70/4.75/kg up to weights of 23kgs.
He said some top prices for quality assured in-spec lambs of over €4.80/kg to 23kgs were paid this week.
However, hogget finishers are very frustrated with the weight and price pressure on lambs at this time when they would be expecting prices to kick on to reflect the much higher costs being encountered by producers. Mr Lynskey said a number of plants are imposing maximum cut off payments. He said individual producers are negotiating deals depending on the type and quality of lamb offered.
IFA met with French representatives from Interbev together with Bord Bia last week in Brussels and discussed the current market difficulties. IFA also met with the EU Commission on proposals to increase EU promotional funding for lamb.
Mr Lynskey said factories need to adopt a more responsible and longer term approach to ensure the continued supply of quality assured lamb out of season to meet their retail requirements on a full year-round basis. He said it is very much in the interests of meat plants and the broader sheep sector that hogget finishers have a strong viable business.
The farming spokesperson said the approach from some of the main lamb factories in applying an across-the-board clipping charge on all sheep being processed is very negative and wrong.
He said IFA has raised this with the Department of Agriculture and requested Minister Creed to call the factories to order on the issue. Mr Lynskey described this as a major setback to the Department’s efforts to advance a clean livestock policy in the sheep sector.