Tumbling prices for lambs this week is the latest in a series of blows for sheep farmers, according to Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) sheep chair Sean McNamara.

He said the price cuts came on top of sheep producers being left out of any COVID-19 support packages to date.

“The bad news just keeps coming for sheep farmers. Our markets have been impacted, wool prices are below the floor and processors continue to ignore the real costs associated with producing lambs and keep slashing prices.”

“On Monday, quotes were coming in at €5.90/kg. By Tuesday, they were at €5.75/kg and today [Friday] the best I’m hearing is €5.40/kg.”


He said rearing lambs to the highest specifications costs money and those costs are growing.

“We cannot continue with a situation whereby on a Monday you might have some chance to cover your costs but by Thursday, you haven’t a hope,” McNamara stressed.

He said too much lambs coming in from the UK and the North was a big part of the problem.

“There is no level playing pitch when local sheep farmers are having to compete with lambs brought in from elsewhere and wreak havoc on prices.”

On supports, he reiterated calls for a €50m beef support package to be a “family farm support package” instead. Sheep farmers were not excluded from the economic impact of coronavirus and should not be excluded from any compensation measures, he concluded.

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