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Angry producers playing hardball

The people of Ireland may have said a big 'Yes' last week, but lamb producers are much more inclined to say 'no' to the factories at the moment and are refusing to sell at the low quotes being offered by the processors.

The more clued-in producers appear to be particularly annoyed over what they felt was the overly negative attitude by the factories throughout the month of May. One lamb producer I spoke to on Saturday said that it was time to shout stop when the quotes dropped below the €5/kg and that he had just refused to accept less than the €5/kg and so far he was bargaining for and getting this amount.

This appears to be common-place for the hard sellers who will negotiate on carcase weight and price before selling.

The farmer who continues to just book in and drop off their lambs receives what the factory is quoting. This has the potential to not only cost them up to 20c/kg on price.

Take your 20kg carcase lamb losing 20c/kg and you are losing €4/lamb before you've taken into account any excess weight over 20kg.

With the amount of work and cost it takes to get the lamb to a stage where it is fit for slaughter, you owe it to yourself to maximise its value.

The bad news is that the plants have dropped their quotes by 5-15c/kg since this day last week, but the good news is that actual prices being negotiated are similar enough to the early part of last week. Despite showing the biggest reduction of 15c/kg, the ICMs are joint top on base quote for today at 485c/kg plus the 6c/kg.

Kildare Chilling are back by 5c/kg, but are also on 485c/kg plus 6c/kg plus the 5c/kg for quality assured lambs. The 10c/kg drop from both Kepak plants, Dawn Ballyhaunis and Moyvalley sees them all quoting a base of 480c/kg plus the bonus. Despite this, a farmer who travelled to one of the western plants was told at the gate that the quote was 490c/kg and no lambs were to be turned away.

Commenting on the trade, the IFA's James Murphy said that demand has picked up due to tightening supplies and increased supermarket promotions. He added that factories were paying up to €5/kg to secure adequate numbers with some plants paying up to 21kg -- and that prices including bonuses of 515c/kg were available for the best stock. ICM Navan are the best of the three that are quoting for hoggets at 400c/kg. Dawn are on 380c/kg while the quote from Moyvalley is also 380c/kg for light hoggets with a carcase weight of 13-18kg.

Dawn lead the way on cull ewes with a 10c/kg improvement moving them up to 230c/kg. ICM Navan are on 225c/kg with 220c/kg on offer from Kildare and Kepak Hacketstown.

Indo Farming