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Proper guidelines needed for spring lamb producers, says ICSA

May 27, 2016 | ICSA in the Media | 0 comments

  • ICSA sheep chair John Brooks has said that the spring lamb industry cannot rely on the butcher sector alone.
 The ICSA sheep chair has also described Teagasc and Bord Bia advice as “insufficient”. 

ICSA sheep chair John Brooks has called for “proper guidelines for spring lamb producers” as they are getting increasingly frustrated at the confused market demand signals coming from the retail sector.

John Brooks said that “advice from Teagasc and Bord Bia is, perhaps, either insufficient or no longer up to date when we see supermarkets using hoggets rather than spring lamb”.

Hogget is being used in supermarkets later and later into the year, meaning “farmers who go to the effort and cost of producing spring lamb are no longer in tune with market signals,” he said.

Despite butchers recognising the premium nature of product and paying in excess of €7/kg, Brooks said that the spring lamb industry cannot rely on the butcher sector alone.

The economics of early lamb production

“Farmers producing spring lamb are getting a raw deal by not receiving the proper information to make informed decisions and strategically plan for production.”

“The situation cannot continue as it is as there is simply no incentive for the spring lamb producer to go to all the extra effort and investment with such uncertain outcomes,” Brooks said.

The sheep chair is calling on Bord Bia, processors and retailers to issue up-to-date advice on markets available and, particularly, the optimum timing for spring lamb.

He also called on Teagasc to review its advice on the economics of early lamb production systems when hogget prices suggest that late lambing is possibly a more profitable system, particularly on moderately stocked farms.

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