Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) sheep chair Adrian Gallagher has hit out at the undermining of the sheep trade by factories.

He said numbers of lambs are scarce and that prices in key markets are upwards of a €1/kg ahead of our prices.

According to Gallagher, the behaviour of factories over the past few weeks is unacceptable and risks undermining the marketplace and eroding confidence.

He said that factories must be more responsible in their pricing of lamb and must reflect the costs and input of farmers and stand firm to return these costs in lamb prices.

He believes that the fall in price is due to the fact that factories have moved too far, too soon and called for it to stop.

Numbers are scarce

“Farmers should sell hard. Lamb numbers are scarce and factories, despite their negative propaganda, need the lambs to supply key customers.”

Undermining of the trade also runs the risk of negatively affecting the store lamb trade when it starts later in the year, according to Gallagher.

He said that store sellers had a difficult year last year and did not see any of the benefits of the higher sheepmeat prices earlier in the year and highlighted that this is an important sector in the supply chain and is in an extremely vulnerable position and need strong returns in store sales this year.

Concluding, he said that factories have a key role to play in this and it must start with prices that reflect the full value of the markets we are trading in.