Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has said it is misleading for the IFA to claim that extra margin in the lamb market is being pocketed by the factories.
Figures compiled by an IFA retail survey in Ireland showed lamb retail sales down 0.6% and price down 2%.
In the same period, prices paid to farmers have dropped by 50c to 70c.
IFA sheep chair Sean Dennehy said processors and retailers had pocketed the extra margin at the expense of farmers.
MII said the downward pressure on lamb prices was being driven by weaker trade in export markets, which account for 80% of factories output.
It said the home market was important, but not sufficient to counter-balance poor demand and price pressure in export markets.
The representative body for factories said it understood farmer frustration, but that the price falls were reflective of what was happening in the market place.
In a statement, MII said: “Processors reject the IFA claim of extra margin being pocketed, which is simply misleading, when in fact the industry is contending with extremely challenging market conditions.
“We are seeing weaker demand for lamb in key continental markets due to lower consumption levels, coupled with very competitively priced UK lamb in the marketplace and a collapsed global lamb skin market.”
MII pointed to several factors influencing lamb price: Weaker consumption figures due to hot weather in Europe and continued negative coverage of red meat leading to a softer demand than normal coming into barbecue season.Absence of life in the barbecue trade limited opportunities for loin, leg steak and manufacturing product.Large carryover of stocks of New Zealand leg and loin cuts by UK and European buyers.An annual surge in UK lamb supplies resulting in a weakening in price to the region of £4.10/kg (€4.57/kg).Competition for Irish exporters from UK lamb in continental markers coming just after Spanish lamb volumes had started to ease. Markets for skins heading to an all-time low where they are now valued at zero and are moving towards becoming a disposal cost.
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