Seán McNamara

ICSA sheep chair

“Sheep farmers are currently losing as much as 60c to 70c/kg on their lambs. It is becoming increasingly difficult to be economically sustainable in sheep farming with the rising cost of production at €7.00/kg exceeding the latest factory prices of approximately €6.30/kg.

“I’m not impressed with the loss of one processor with the latest news of Dawn Meats taking over Kildare Chilling. Kildare Chilling led the field and kept the pressure on the factories and kept the prices up. If Kildare Chilling goes, I think it will mean a poor outlook on the overall future of sheep farming.

“It’s very disheartening as there’s no encouragement for young people to get into sheep farming as it simply is not viable. I think we have lost generations already in sheep farming and I think we’ll lose another generation to follow if prices don’t improve.”

Marita Phelan

Offaly sheep farmer on IFA sheep committee

“It’s not debatable that the sheep price is very poor compared to this time last year. The constant increase in input costs, especially meal and fertiliser, has made it very difficult for sheep farmers to make a comfortable living. The way things are going I can see a large portion of sheep farmers opting out of the sector.

“From talking to sheep farmers around my region, it seems they have no other option but to cut their stock numbers to half or even less. It’s disheartening to see the hard work farmers put in all year round and not receive a decent price for their produce.

“Especially now with the announcement of Dawn Meats taking over Kildare Chilling, it seems impossible for sheep farmers to have a leg to stand on.”

Ronan Delany

Meath farmer, sheep producer group

“The biggest worry for sheep farmers at the minute is the rising price of input costs, particularly meal. I feel the Government needs to be driving alternatives for reducing input prices at farm level, for example electricity with solar panels on sheds.

“The days of large sheep farms are over, young people are now opting for part-time jobs with small sheep farm enterprises or considering dairy or beef over sheep.

“Kildare Chilling is very active in the lamb market and keeps all the other factories on track.

“They are well known for leading the quotes every week for the price of lamb and will definitely be missed from the sheep market.”

Seán Lavery

Limerick sheep farmer and IFA county chair

“Last week I brought lambs into Kildare Chilling and got €6.20/kg for the base price on them. This time last year I received €7.30/kg for a similar bunch of store lambs.

“It’s worrying to be receiving a 15% reduction in the sale price from last year. Meanwhile, the cost of ration continues to increase.

“With the cost continuously increasing and the revenue decreasing, the margin per ewe has gone down by 80% from this time last year.

“Sheep farmers will have to look at other options to ration with the likes of catch crops for finishing lambs, but this may only apply to a certain portion of farmers with suitable ground.”