ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara has said lower weight limits for spring lamb must be scrapped and that payable weights should start no lower than 22kg. “It has never been more important to support our primary producers. Our costs have risen significantly, and the factories will only add to these pressures if they introduce weight limits of 19kg in the coming weeks. They have an obligation to support their local suppliers in these tough times and all we are asking is that they pay out for 22kg of spring lamb instead of taking a portion of it for free,” he said.
“The difference between getting paid for 22kg as opposed to 19kg is upwards of €20/hd. Those additional kilos of lamb are perfectly saleable for the factories; and they do sell it on – and make 100% profit on it off the backs of low-income sheep farmers in the process. It must be remembered that producing spring lamb is a very expensive and labour-intensive operation. We as sheep farmers have been working around the clock to produce these lambs for the busy Easter market and we cannot afford to give valuable kilos of lamb away for nothing.”
“For too long this underhanded tactic has been used by processors to penalise farmers and keep their payments to a minimum. There is simply no justification for it, and especially so given the current situation.”
Mr McNamara said he is calling on all processors to do their bit for sheep farmers and commit to paying for up to 22kgs at the very minimum all year round.