The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has hit out at processors for pulling lamb quotes, rejecting claims that the cuts have been made amid a “surge” in the number of lambs being slaughtered.

IFA president Tim Cullinan stated that price cuts were “unjustified” and called for sustainable prices to be paid to sheep farmers.

“Store lamb sales have started positive, but it’s crucial factories return a fair price to underpin this trade for the remainder of the year,” said Cullinan.

The farm group has reported that factories are offering farmers prices of up to €6.70/kg to 22kg in their attempts to seek out lambs. Insufficient prices should be rejected by farmers, it said.

Tight supplies

IFA sheep chair Kevin Comiskey claimed that the number of lambs that passed through processors this spring was 12% behind last year’s levels and that supplies were tight domestically.

Comiskey added that the development of export markets would be critical to ensure favourable farmer margins, also citing the sustainability credentials of Irish grass-produced lamb as a reason to keep the sheep trade strong into the longer term.