Farm Ireland

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Farmers should not sell under-finished lambs

17/5/2018. Loughrea Sheep Mart
Photo Brian Farrell
17/5/2018. Loughrea Sheep Mart Photo Brian Farrell
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

FARMERS should only move lambs as they became fit and not sell any underweight or under-finished lambs, the farm organisations have claimed.

Predicting that the lamb market would stabilise in the week ahead after the first flush of new season lamb were sold, IFA’s Sean Dennehy urged farmers to stop panic selling lambs.

“The hogget numbers are almost gone, spring lambs are in tighter supply compared to last year and all of the main supermarket groups have switched over to spring lamb,” Mr Dennehy claimed.

He pointed out that the overall kill in recent weeks was back almost 7,500 head on last year, with spring lamb throughput down 9,500 head.

The end of Ramadan was creating increased demand this week, Mr Dennehy pointed out, and tighter supplies could result in a market rebound.

Dennehy has said it is clear that the factories overcooked the price cuts last week and are having to reverse this week to get lambs.

He said the reality is that supplies are extremely tight and factories are unable to buy lambs at the lower quoted prices. He said factories are paying €6.20/kg to get lambs.

Sean Dennehy said farmers need to dig in hard and insist on full value. They should desist from moving any under-finished or underweight lambs and continue to sell as lambs become fit.

Also Read

He said supplies are very tight on the ground and factories are struggling to get numbers to meet market demand.

Factory agents were understood to be eager for both hoggets and lamb over the weekend, with John Brooks  of ICSA maintaining that €5.50/kg was paid to dealers for batches of hoggets. The ewe trade was firm at €3/kg.

Mr Dennehy accused the factories of undermining the lamb market and farmer confidence with what he described as the factories “price cutting agenda”.

“It is totally unacceptable the way some agents and factories are talking down the trade when the market signals are more positive,” he argued.

The ICSA warned that the factories risked a marked shift in the lambing season by slashing returns to farmers who lambed ewes in January and February.

John Brooks said farmers would not continue lambing in February if the extra cost of feeding ewes and lambs was not returned.

 “If the factories are not careful farmers will switch to lambing from mid-March on and this has implications because the processors will be facing a tsunami of

finished lamb in the second half of the year,” Mr Brooks maintained.

 “We all know that the price of lamb comes back at this time of the year but the level of the cuts over the last 10 days were unjustified,” he argued.

Online Editors