Sheep farmers feel the squeeze
Anne Harkin, manager of Raphoe mart, has several things on her mind.
She wonders how many sheep are in the system to go to the factories, and she says some farmers have become disillusioned with all the stress around the sheep business.
"Farmers are not happy with how the factories treat them and they don't like the constant volatility in prices," she says.
Unfortunately volatility continues to be name of the game as this week sees yet again factories squeezing the price of lamb.
This week's 10c/kg cut in official quotes by a majority of plants makes it the third week in succession that the processing sector has penalised farmers producing a premium international-standard product.
The one exception to the latest round of cuts on lamb prices is Kepak Athleague, who hold their price at €4.75+5c/kg QA (Quality Assurance), pushing them to the top of our league table on price.
The remainder of the plants quoted on the table below all slice their quotes by 10c/kg, meaning that Kildare Chilling, so long the dominant price setter, slip to second spot with their quote of €4.70+10c/kg QA. Next up come the two ICM plants with their offering of €4.60+10c/kg QA while Dawn Ballyhaunis round off proceedings on €4.60/kg.
On the ewe trade it's largely as you were with the exception of Kepak, who slip their price for culls by 10c/kg to €2.50/kg, bringing them joint-bottom of the table with Dawn.