The value of the current EU market for lamb must be maximised, and new opportunities for breeding sheep in Northern Ireland must be availed of by the sector, IFA sheep chair Sean Dennehy has said.

The IFA has highlighted that reduced volumes of imported lamb in the EU market has had a knock-on effect on prices and the reliance on domestic production to service it.

Dennehy has also called for the Brexit agreement to be utilised to benefit Irish sheep farmers, revisiting the requirements surrounding the movement of breeding sheep to Northern Ireland.

Strong demand

The sheep chair said demand for lamb is strong from factories, with prices ranging from €6.40 to €6.50/kg for most sellers, and cull ewes making €3.00 to €3.20/kg.

Dennehy said: “Latest supermarket sales figures to the end of 2020 show continued strong lamb performance at the retail level, underpinning the trade where both the volume and value of lamb sales show significant growth.

“The latest 12-week period to the end of December 2020 shows a volume increase of 14% and a price increase of 4%, contributing to overall spend on lamb increasing by over 18% compared to 2019.”