Early lamb producers urged to secure prices
Farmers considering producing early season lambs next spring should look to secure a contract price from their processor first, IFA sheep committee chairman, James Murphy, maintained.
Speaking at a marketing forum at last Saturday's Sheep 2012 in Teagasc, Athenry, Mr Murphy said farmers needed a guaranteed return from early season lamb.
He said it was ludicrous to expect flock owners to feed lambs through the spring if there wasn't a decent return for their efforts.
Mr Murphy said the lamb price crash in May had damaged confidence and wiped out profit for early lamb producers.
Declan Fennell of Bord Bia said the price drop was due in part to a 25pc increase in the number of hoggets killed this spring.
He said that 65,000 additional hoggets had come on the market through the spring, coinciding with the new season production.
Pressed by farmers to explain the May price collapse, Jonathan Forbes of Kepak pointed out that early in the year the company had offered €5.60/kg for hoggets and failed to get them. He said once the demand eased and prices came back then a flood of hoggets had come on the market.
However, Mr Murphy said the May-type carnage was totally avoidable.