ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has called on meat factories to justify not paying above 20kg on spring lamb carcases while at the same time, paying for up to 23.5kg on hoggets.
“We are now at the time where there is full changeover from hogget to lamb in factories, some of which showed a distinct preference for hoggets and had no problem paying up to 23.5kg for them. How do they justify paying nothing above 20kg for high quality lamb carcases, which often arrive in the same load as the hoggets?” asked Mr. Brooks. “ICSA is calling on meat processers to pay for lamb carcases up to 22kg at least.”
Mr Brooks said that while some customers do not want very heavy carcases, there is little evidence that there is any difficulty finding good outlets for up to 23.5kg. “We know that there is a preference in some markets for the lighter carcases, but it is clear from the hogget trade all along that there is little difficulty in selling meat from somewhat heavier carcases.”
He added that the better quality, leaner carcases should be given leeway to even higher weights than 22kg. “Overall, farmers believe that there is no justification for such tight cut-off points and that factories are profiteering on an unnecessarily low weight limit. Spring lamb is a premium product which is expensive to produce, and this must be recognised in fair returns.”