Lamb prices of up to €7/kg and higher have been negotiated by farmers on Monday, as factories “struggle” to fill orders, Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) sheep chair Sean Dennehy has said.

A price of €6.90/kg is “freely available” for farmers supplying lambs, with the increased demand for lamb stemming from the lifting of restrictions on hospitality and the food service sector.

Dennehy went on to state that a drop in COVID-19 case numbers and changing public health advice have both helped to ease the labour pressures under which factories had been operating.

“Lamb numbers are extremely tight. With good weather, farmers are under no pressure to sell and factories are struggling to get supplies to meet the market demand,” he said.

Heavy lambs

Dennehy said that the price cuts being applied to over-heavy lambs in recent weeks was “not necessary”, adding that the penalties should be dropped as demand for lamb is increasing with the reopening of the hospitality sector.

In cases where farmers had heavy finished lambs, the sheep chair suggested selling at the mart.

“The mart trade for these lambs is much better than what factories are offering and farmers should consider the most appropriate outlet for the lambs they have.”