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Butchers’ absence gives a monopoly to factory buyers

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Bridie and Tom O'Connor, Brownsgrove with their daughter Imelda O'Connor O'Dea at the opening of her safety consultancy office in Tuam last week. PHOTOS: JOHNNY RYAN PHOTOGRAPHY.

THE absence of the traditional butcher buyers around the mart pens has been cited as one of the main reasons for the lack of competition in the lamb trade, following nearly two weeks of price slumps in the trade.

Galway sheep farmers have been left reeling with a price drop of around €1 per kg. over the past week and a half at the meat plants – lambs are now down almost €20 a head from the mid-June prices.

Michael Murphy, Galway IFA Sheep Committee Chairman told the Farming Tribune that once the price fell below €5 per kg. for lambs at the factories, their production wasn’t viable anymore.

“Sadly there is a monopoly situation with the factories. Now nearly all of the butchers source their lamb from the factories which means that the competition just isn’t there anymore at the marts,” said Michael Murphy.

He said that the IFA were meeting with the meat plan bosses this week in an effort to put some kind of floor on the market but there were serious concerns over factories ‘profiteering’ at the expense of farmers.

“While prices traditionally do drop off during the month of June, the cut this year has been particularly severe – down from €5.50/€5.40 per kg. in mid-June to €4.50/kg. this week.

“The scale of this cut is really coming at a bad time in terms of confidence in the run-up to the breeding season. The price needs to come back up to the €5/kg. mark,” said Michael Murphy.

The market situation for lambs has also been affected by a lower than expected demand by live exporters in the run-up to the Ramadan Muslim observance season (June 18 to July 17) as well as increased movement of Spanish lambs into France. Live exports are expected to pick-up as Ramadan draws to a close in mid-July.

Sheep farmers also continue to be angry at the ongoing factories policy of not paying the ‘extra weight’ for lambs that are over the 18kg. to 21kg. category.

IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman, John Lynskey, said that sheep farmers were very dependent on lamb prices for their incomes.

“Many producers selling lambs to date have incurred high costs with meal feeding. It is of vital importance that lamb prices are stabilised and maintained at viable levels to maintain confidence in the sector,” said John Lynskey.

Loughrea Mart – similar to other marts across the county –reported a very disappointing lamb trade at their last sale with reduced factory quotes reflected in the mart trade.

“It’s a sad state when you can get more for a cull ewe than a good lamb,” said a Mart spokesman.

Gort Mart reported prices are well back with little demand from wholesalers and ‘no live exports’ as yet this year. €100 was tops for prices at the part with €85 to €95 a head reflecting the general run of the trade.

Connacht Tribune

Flexibility and budget worries over direction of new scheme

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Michael Biggins: Disappointed at scheme.

THE new ACRES (Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme) due to be rolled out on January 1 next is ‘restrictive and complicated’ according to West of Ireland farming representative.

IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins, said that the proposed scheme was ‘far from a new REPS’ and urgently needed to be modified in terms of flexibility and budget allocation.

“As it’s currently proposed, ACRES is restrictive and complicated.  It will inflict more compliance costs on farmers, resulting in less income.

“The scheme is designed to discourage people from farming. In order to achieve the average payment, farmers will have to commit more land to lower levels of production compared to previous schemes,” said Michael Biggins.

He added that all farmers who applied needed to be accepted into the scheme while those farmers applying in 2023 would have to be paid in the same year.

Details of the €1.5 billion ACRES scheme were outlined by the Dept. of Agriculture in June with two entry streams – a general or individual one: and a co-operation model for environmentally sensitive area including Connemara and parts of South Galway and Mayo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

‘Smart villages’: the way forward

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Pictured at the recent opening of the ‘Smart Villages’ office in Mountbellew were: Anne Kinsella, Chairperson of Galway Rural Development; Senator Aisling Dolan; and Minister for Rural Development and Social Protection, Heather Humphreys.

A RECENTLY opened Galway Rural Development (GRD) office in Mountbellew could be the forerunner to similar ‘Smart Villages’ initiatives over the coming years, according to the organisers of the scheme.

The Smart Villages initiative is part of the European Network for Rural Development, aimed at improving services in country areas such as health, social, energy, transport and retail.

The Mountbellew office was officially opened by Minister for Rural/Community Affairs  Heather Humphreys, who said that the initiative marked an important step forward in terms of rural development.

CEO of Galway Rural Development, Steve Dolan, said that last year they had picked out Mountbellew as their pilot location for the Smart Villages project which would offer a lot of opportunities for rural communities mainly through the use of information and communications technology

“Smart Village training has been developed and delivered, up-skilling many in the community in local development, connectivity, sustainability, and more. The opening of this office in Mountbellew is as a result of our shared efforts,” said Steve Dolan.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Anger as factories continue to chop lamb price

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Stephen Canavan: No reason for price cuts.

THE meat plants have been accused of trying ‘to make a fast buck’ on the backs of sheep farmers with lamb prices now back by a euro per kilo, as compared to just over a month ago.

Farm leaders have said that the factories are trying ‘to tough it out’ before more finished lambs begin to come on the market over the next month or so.

Galway IFA Chairman,  Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that there was no good reason for the chain of factory price cuts over the past five weeks or so.

“All the information we are getting is that the supply of finished lambs is still quite limited but the factories have obviously taken a decision to cut now, before the number of finished lambs increase through the Autumn.

“It’s just another example of the meat plants trying to make a fast buck at the expense of the primary producer at a time when input costs for farmers have never been as high,” said Stephen Canavan.

Lamb prices are this week hovering at the €6.50 per kg mark – down from a high of over €7.50 per kg in late June, equating to a price drop for farmers of around €20 per lamb.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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