Farmer anger intensifies as factories slash lamb quotes by 50-60c/kg


Farmers at a previous ICSA protest in Monaghan
Farmers at a previous ICSA protest in Monaghan
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

IFA met with senior management in Irish Country Meats in Camolin, Co Wexford this week and demanded the factories stabilise and restore lamb prices and stop undermining the market with price cuts.

"We left the management in ICM in no doubt about the anger among sheep farmers over the way factories have savaged lamb prices and destroyed farm incomes over the last two weeks.

“IFA put a strong case to ICM to increase the Bord Bia Quality Assurance bonus to 30c/kg. We also made it clear if the factories want lighter in-spec lamb, they need to pay a worthwhile price premium to farmers,” he said.

ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara whi led a group of 60 sheep farmers to blockade the entrance to the ICM sheep plant at Camolin in Wexford on Monday morning.

"The anger is palpable amongst the sheep farmers protesting here," Mr McNamara said. "It costs a lot of money to rear these lambs and we need to be getting a minimum of €7/kg to make it viable."

Supply to the factory was severely disrupted, with a long tailback of lorries and jeeps with trailers developing throughout the day.

The reason for this action is simple. ICSA point to lamb prices being back by over a €1/kg on 12 months ago. This week quotes for lamb dropped even further. Moyvalley slashed 60c/kg off their price dropping back to €5.50/kg for spring lambs.

Kildare Chilling dropped their quote for lamb by 45c/kg to €5.55+10c/kg quality assurance.

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The two ICMs fall back by 40c/kg to €5.50/kg+10, with Dawn Ballyhaunis also shedding 40c/kg to €5.50/kg. Kepak Athleague also fell into step with their colleagues dropping their lamb quote to €5.50/kg. plus 15c/kg for quality assured stock.

Dawn and Kepak did not quote for hoggets, while the two ICMs dropped to €4.50/kg plus bonuses. Kildare Chilling's price yesterday saw 40c/kg wiped off last week's offering as they now quote €4.50+10c/kg.

The story on the cull ewe side sees only Kildare holding their nerve, with their quote for ewes yesterday morning staying unchanged at €2.70+10c/kg QA.

Dawn dropped their cull ewe quote by 10c/kg to €2.60/kg, Kepak slipped 20c/kg to €2.60/kg, while the two ICM plants dropped 10c/kg yesterday to €2.50/kg.

All in all, I've seldom seen such a one-day bloodletting on sheep prices.

While ICSA were pitched up 20 miles from the site of the battle of Vinegar Hill, the IFA yesterday were urging the importance of bringing "some stability to the situation".

The belief among IFA representatives is that with the end of Ramadan demand will be stronger at the end of the week as they believe there are not as many lambs about.

Speaking with ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara as they wound down their activities yesterday afternoon, he told me that, "ICSA will be watching the factories response and if further action is needed ICSA will take it".

Indo Farming

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