Farmers Journal – 18 February 2016
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) has welcomed the special bonus available for E and U grade lambs sired by pedigree Beltex or Texel rams in Kepak Athleague, which will be worth 30c/kg to 35c/kg up to 23kg.
ICSA sheep chair John Brooks said the fact that markets in Europe have been secured by Kepak for these high-quality lambs is an admission by the meat industry that carcase conformation matters.
“This is an important recognition of the role of top-conformation lambs and the fact that higher weight limits are appropriate for U grade upwards.
“Farmers won’t be long stepping up to the plate with top-quality lambs. For years, sheep farmers have been told that weight and cover is all that counts. This move sees a shift in that thinking and it’s right that industry rewards producers for top quality,” said Brooks.
The group is working with Kepak Athleague to market lambs for a niche Belgian contract.
The current base price is €5.70/kg with a weight range of 16kg to 23kg, with a bonus of 30c/kg for U grades and 35c/kg for E grades.
Brooks said this bonus reflects what can be achieved on key EU markets, highlighting the need for further marketing efforts to achieve better prices for better carcases.
“EU sheep farmers who have bred better conformation lambs have got very little recognition to date in the prices generally paid by sheep processors. This move is to be welcomed and we would like to see further progressive initiatives along these lines,” he concluded.
The bonus will be available for lambs supplied through the QualEUtex producer group. For more information, contact coordinator Donal Mee on 086-2254932 on weekdays between 6pm and 8pm.