ICSA CRITICAL OF PROCESSORS’ FAILURE TO ADEQUATELY PAY FOR SPRING LAMB

29 MARCH 2017

ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has said processors have yet again failed to step up to the mark with opening prices for spring lamb. “Again we have seen the failure of factories to pay out a sustainable price for this highly specialised premium product” he said. “The spring lamb sector needs a minimum of €7.00/kg to make it viable. The process requires a lot of forward planning, starting back in the previous June or July when ewes are selected and mated. Ewes are then lambed in the depths of winter when production costs are at their highest to have lambs on the ground fourteen weeks prior to Easter Sunday. All of this is done to ensure the supply is there to meet demand at this peak time. Therefore, we need to see farmers getting an adequate return on investment in order to sustain early lamb production.”

Compounding this, Mr Brooks said “Greedy processors continue to substitute Irish lamb with cheap lamb and lamb products imported from the UK. This is a cynical tactic to keep a lid on the price paid out to farmers here. It also puts into question the whole idea of traceability, origin green and quality assurance. Circumventing these controls undermines best practice and can only be described as shady.”

In addition, Mr Brooks noted that prices quoted for hogget this week are significantly lower than prices achieved at the same time in recent years. “This week, quotes are hovering around €5.20/kg up to 23kgs, however, this week in 2016 farmers were getting €5.80/kg up to 24kgs and in 2015 it was €6.10/kg up to 24kgs. Farmers are being hammered on price and weight. The figures speak for themselves.”

ENDS