IFA national sheep chair Seán Dennehy has called for “immediate progress” on the opening of lamb export markets.

He highlighted the need for more work by the Government in opening up markets for Irish lamb exports at a meeting between the IFA, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and sheep factories this week.

Now is the time to make progress in China

Dennehy said farmers were promised markets would open up when EID (electronic identification) was introduced.

“Now is the time to make progress in China and the Government cannot allow this opportunity to pass by,” he said

Discussions also took place around lamb prices and market prospects; specifications, quality assurance, EID implementation, factory charges and sheep policy issues.

Dennehy said that the “IFA were very strong in the argument that carcase weight limits were way too restrictive at the factories and new-season lamb needed to open at a minimum carcase weight of 21kg”.

He added that the IFA “put a strong case to the factories” to increase the quality-assurance bonus to 30c/kg.

Acknowledging that some plants have increased the bonus from 10c to 15c/kg, he said that “a lot more needs to be done to properly reward farmers for quality assurance”.

Dispatch dockets

As part of the discussion, Dennehy said that meat plants have indicated that they are now in a position to provide farmers with a full print-out of their dispatch docket when selling lambs.

We also had a good discussion with the processing sector on sheep policy issues

Dennehy declared that clipping charges on category B lambs is wrong and he put it to MII that the charges by some plants applying under the clean sheep policy are “totally unfair”.

He also looked for scrapie and SRM charges on ewes to be abolished.

“We also had a good discussion with the processing sector on sheep policy issues, including the need for €30 per ewe targeted support for sheep farmers, Brexit, CAP 2020 and international trade deals including New Zealand and Australia,” he said.

Read more

Sheep Trends: quotes not reflecting movement

Sheep Welfare Scheme ready to re-commence