Sheep farmers urged to avoid panic-selling
Store lamb prices slump at the marts but demand forecast to pick up next month
Farmers are being advised to avoid panic-selling store lambs and, if possible, hold out for the Eid al-Adha Festival next month which could see prices pick up again across the country.
The Islamic festival runs from August 21-25 and demand is expected to improve again in the coming weeks.
This past week has seen prices fall considerably at many marts across the country, with some store lambs (28-32kg) selling from €75 up to €80.
ICSA chairman John Brooks said that while the lack of grass is forcing farmers to sell off stock, farmers need to recognise that overseas demand is strong.
"Lamb is scarce on the continent and live shippers are back in the market here for lamb," he said. "But in order to exploit that, we need support from all shareholders."
Mr Brooks also believes that the Government needs to get behind farmers and offer temporary credit to get them over the drought instead of farmers being forced to prematurely sell off stock to pay bills.
"I actually think it's going to get worse before it gets better," says Tullow Mart manager, Eric Driver, of the situation in the east of the country.
"The volume has been steady here but it's not as good as previous years. The factories are definitely having an effect on prices at the moment," he added.