Sheep farmers must demand minimum €7/kg

Claim that factories bringing in live lambs - as well as lamb in carcase – from the north and elsewhere.

Farmers should not accept any less than €7.00/kg for hoggets over the coming weeks.

That's according to ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara, who said that factories are “doing everything in their power” to chip away at prices. “We must do everything in our power to resist them,” said Mr McNamara, who operates from a holding nestled between the borders of Cavan-Longford and Westmeath.

“As sheep farmers our cost of production is upwards of €7.00/kg and rising all the time, so we are only demanding what is fair,” he continued. “It is imperative that we hold the line at €7.00/kg at the very minimum. We know the demand is there when we see factory agents heading to the marts and buying up all around them, with heavy ewe lambs in particular making €10-€15/hd more than they are making in the factories.”

Mr McNamara claimed that factories continue to bring in truckloads of live lambs - as well as lamb in carcase – from the north and elsewhere.

“This is an on-going practice and can only be described as a cynical attempt to weaken the negotiating position of local suppliers. This is what we are up against, and this is why we all must hold firm on prices when selling our stock that we have worked so hard to produce.”

Mr McNamara was also critical of factories heavily penalising carcases of 25kg and above.

“Reports are coming in of a very heavy-handed cut-off point of €135.00/hd being imposed on carcase weights of 25kg and over,” he said. “At €7.00/kg these lambs should be hitting the €161.00 mark with a 23kg weight limit. That is a €26.00 hit that no sheep farmer can afford. Anyone with heavier lambs would be well advised to go to the mart instead.”