Cuts to lamb prices in recent weeks have left sheep farmers down €20 to €23 per head in comparison with the same time last year.
Lambs were making €1/kg less than 12 months ago, according to IFA sheep chair Sean Dennehy, which made it difficult for farmers to make an income from early lamb.
A reduction of €20/head was the equivalent of all the profit from a sheep enterprise, Dennehy said.
He called on factories to stop undermining the lamb market, branding the cuts as excessive.
Dennehy said the factories' tactics were destroying farmers’ incomes at a time when price stability was critical.
He said spring lambs were making €6.10/kg to €6.30/kg, while hoggets were securing between €5.00/kg to €5.30/kg for larger suitable lots.
Flock owners were advised to draft and select stock on a weekly basis to avoid lambs becoming overweight.
Dennehy said lambs were finishing well with the good spring and it made no sense to give factories free lamb.