Producer group offers €7 premium for top spec Beltex lambs
Published 16/02/2016 | 02:30
A newly formed producer group is offering up to €7 extra per lamb for top quality stock destined for the Belgian market.
Donal Mee, coordinator of the new group QualEUtex, said they are looking for farmers producing lambs from Beltex or Texel registered rams to meet the order.
"We were approached by Kepak in Athleague with a customer in Belgium looking for U grade lambs to be shipped out in carcase form," he explained.
"They were looking to put a group together specialising in Beltex and Texels."
He said they are offering 30c extra on U2 and U3 grade Beltex or Texel lamb up to 23kg.
This works out at an extra €6 on R grades for a 20kg lamb.
In addition, E grade lambs would be fetching 35c on top, which would be worth an extra €7 above the R grade for 20kg, he explained. "They'll take as many lambs as we can supply," said Mr Mee.
"It is for a full year and we are looking for farm of origin lambs as well.
"We are not looking for lambs that were bought as stores."
"We are looking for farmers using purebred registered Beltex or Texel rams solely.
"There are an awful lot of people out there and it is just organising them to come for killing on Mondays in Athleague."
Teagasc advisor John Noonan described it as an "excellent initiative".
However, he urged farmers to keep a close watch on their weights and finishing spec when supplying to the programme.
"I would welcome any new deal between processors and farmers that would lead to more partnership-thinking in the industry. Secondly, it would also reward farmers for producing top quality lamb fitting the specification, and thirdly, it creates more competition among processors," he said.
Mr Noonan stressed the bonus system for rewarding top grade lambs needs to be substantial to make it worthwhile for farmers.
"Producer groups are reporting that their members are achieving anything between 10pc and 30pc of their lambs achieving U grade.
"However, many are falling into the trap of going over the weight specified in achieving this grade and end up not getting paid for this extra meat," he said.
Mr Mee, who is working with TJ Gormley and Francis Lyons, said they felt this was a good initiative for producers meeting the specifications.
Mr Mee urged those interested to contact him on email@example.com or look at their Facebook page.