3 APRIL 2020
ICSA sheep chairman Sean McNamara has urged sheep farmers to hold their nerve and resist price cutting for hoggets. “There is ample evidence of scarcity of sheep meat in retail outlets in Ireland and the UK. Meat factories are trying to create a scare to drive down spring lamb price and it is essential that we do not let them away with this. The volatility in recent weeks is a sign that supplies of hoggets are a lot scarcer than factories would like.
“What you see is threats of prices cuts one day, followed by better prices a day or two later. This is a symptom of supplies being scarce. This week, we have seen price fluctuate between €5/kg and €5.60/kg. Any farmer accepting the lower quote is being codded.”
“The reality now is that it is costing €110 to produce a hogget at this time of year. Farmers cannot be expected to supply hoggets and make no money. It is also a reality that spring lamb must make €7/kg at Easter if we want people to stay at sheep.”
The ICSA sheep chairman also slammed the weight limits as being totally over the top. “Farmers see severe weight limits as a means of crucifying them while boosting processor profits. It is not acceptable to continue with this type of dysfunctional food chain where processors and retailers make money but farmers make nothing. Many farmers in the sheep sector are extremely stressed and unable to pay bills. They work extremely hard, especially this time of year, to keep food on the shelves and they deserve better than this.”