'Spring lamb producers need €7/kg for reasonable return'
There are very few spring lambs available on the market to-date but with Easter Sunday on April 16, butchers, factories and retailers will be looking for numbers in the next two weeks, according to IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey.
He said with the high production costs and work involved, farmers would need a price in the order of €7.00/kg for this top quality product.
In addition, he said factories would need to pay to 21/21.5 kgs in order to ensure a reasonable return to producers.
John Lynskey said that Easter Sunday falls on April 16 and the Muslim festival of Ramadan begins on May 27. He said this should lead to a strong demand for lambs throughout April and May.
The IFA sheep farmers’ leader said hoggets are making from €5.10/kg to €5.20/kg this week and supplies have tightened as the week has progressed, with agents and factories finding it more difficult to get stock.
Numbers at the marts are smaller and the factory kill last week was back 7,000 head compared to the same week last year. To-date this year the kill is 47,144 ahead of last year, clearly indicating that any overhang is gone and numbers may get scarce over the coming weeks.
John Lynskey said ewes are making from €3.00 to €3.10/kg.
Of late official base quotes show hoggets were generally making between €4.85/kg and €4.90/kg with selected lots gaining higher returns while prices for early season Spring lamb were generating around €6/kg and culled ewes were making on average €2.80/kg.