Sheep factories have cut some €4m from sheep farmers’ pockets over the last four weeks, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA).

Slamming factories, ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara described how “lamb prices have been pulled sharply again and again in recent weeks”.

“We’re now back €1/kg compared to where we were in the second week of July. That is around €21/head slashed from every lamb processed at the 21kg weight limit.

“With an average of 50,000 lambs processed per week, that’s €1.05m denied to sheep farmers per week, or upwards of €4m over the course of four weeks,” he said.

‘Cannot absorb’ hit

McNamara warned that sheep farmers “simply cannot absorb that kind of hit” as “inflation is hitting us hard and input costs have gone through the roof”.

“The processors tell us that we are getting the same as last year, but what good is that to us? Last year’s prices are not enough to keep us in business this year. We cannot survive as a sector when we cannot cover our basic costs of production,” he said.

The Westmeath farmer urged all sheep farmers to resist any further price cuts from factories over the coming days and weeks.

“There is no justification for these price cuts and the way processors are treating their suppliers is unacceptable,” he said.