Sheep farmers are very angry with the way their incomes are being eroded, according to IFA national sheep chair Sean Dennehy.
“Through a combination of factory price cuts compared to last year, weight restrictions, clipping charges and the imposition of EID charges, farmers are now back €11 per head on their lambs,” he said.
He outlined how farmers have to pay €1.27/head of a specified risk material (SRM) charge as well as 71c/head of a scrapie charge on ewes. Now some meat plants are imposing price cuts of 50c/kg on heavier lambs.
“IFA made it very clear to Irish Country Meats (ICM) management that sheep farmer anger is rising over lamb price cuts as well as weigh restrictions and the imposition of unfair clipping charges,” said Dennehy, after an IFA delegation met with senior management in ICM this week.
In an effort to make up the shortfall, the IFA is demanding that carcase weights be immediately moved up to 22kg at this time of year.
The prices cuts over recent weeks have seen lamb price drop significantly below the critical €5.00/kg mark
“Normally on 1 October weights rise to a minimum of 22kg and some plants are paying some farmers up to this level. The prices cuts over recent weeks have seen lamb price drop significantly below the critical €5.00/kg mark and has left sheep farmers seriously struggling financially,” said Dennehy.
The IFA is demanding that the factories introduce a strong quality assurance bonus of 30c/kg on lamb.
“The factories are using the Department of agriculture clean lamb policy to impose an excessive and unfair levy on sheep farmers. This has to stop,” he said.
Blackface ram lamb sold to 12,000 guinneas at Ballymena
Factory lamb prices remain flat