IFA calls for a halt to ‘savage’ lamb price cuts

SHEEP farmers across the West are continuing to feel the pinch this week as the factories continue to slash lamb and hogget prices.

According to the latest reports of factory prices cuts of another 60c/kg have been put in place by the meat plants with spring lambs down by about €40 per head over the past four to five weeks.

The cuts have angered IFA sheep representative who have accused the factories of making opportunistic moves ‘even at the slightest sign of any lull in the market’.

Quotes at the meat plants have slipped back by 60c/kg to €7.30+20c quality assurance, as the downward spiral  since early to mid-June continues. Hoggets are being quoted at €6.30+20c QA – down 50c/kg over the past seven days.

Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, described the factory moves as ‘appalling’ and as a show of complete disloyalty to sheep farmers all over the country.

“The factories are saying to us that they don’t have a market for lamb but the simple fact of the matter is that we don’t believe them.

“Lambs that were making €200 a head at the beginning of June are down to roughly €160 at a time when there have been 165,000 less hoggets and lambs processed as compared to last year in Ireland,” said Stephen Canavan.

He added that there had been a significant drop in sheep numbers – especially in lowland areas – with price cuts from the factories acting as a complete disincentive for farmers to stay in sheep farming.

“The factories’ attitude does not make any sense. If they keep cutting prices, numbers will drop which will have negative implications not just for farmers but for the meat plants themselves,” said Stephen Canavan.

He said that the factory claims of a decline in the demand for sheep was not borne across the French and other international markets.

Pictured: Stephen Canavan: No loyalty shown by factories to sheep farmers.

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