Farm Ireland

Sunday 24 March 2019

'Farmers need a minimum of €100 per lamb' - Concern over the scale of ewe kill

Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

Figures released by the Department of Agriculture show that ewe and ram slaughtering's have increased by almost 52,000 compared to the same period last year, an increase of 19pc.

Weekly data show a more dramatic increase of ewe and ram slaughtering’s up by 75pc in the last week of August compared to last year, over 5,000 head of a difference.

IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said it is very concerning to see that cull ewe slaughtering’s are up this year.  He said the ewe kill is big and factories are paying €2.60/2.80/kg.

Sean said the factories must show more significant commitment to flock owners and strong viable lamb prices are essential for farmers to have confidence on ewe numbers. 

He said “2018 has been an extremely difficult year for sheep farmers, through a combination of major losses last winter, huge increase in feed costs including throughout the summer”.

Sean said sheep farmers are approaching a critical time in relation to future plans on ewe numbers and it is essential that factories send a more positive signal to flock owners on lamb prices. He said farmers need a minimum of €100 per lamb and at prices at €4.80/kg, many lambs are struggling to make this.

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