ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara has said farmers should not accept any less than €7.00/kg for hoggets over the coming weeks. “Factories are doing everything in their power to chip away at prices so we must do everything in our power to resist them,” he said.
“As sheep farmers our cost of production is upwards of €7.00/kg and rising all the time, so we are only demanding what is fair. It is imperative that we hold the line at €7.00/kg at the very minimum. We know the demand is there when we see factory agents heading to the marts and buying up all around them, with heavy ewe lambs in particular making €10-€15/hd more than they are making in the factories.”
“We must remember all this happening as factories continue to bring in truckloads of live lambs – as well as lamb in carcase form – from the north and elsewhere. This is an on-going practice and can only be described as a cynical attempt to weaken the negotiating position of local suppliers. This is what we are up against, and this is why we all must hold firm on prices when selling our stock that we have worked so hard to produce.”
Mr McNamara was also critical of factories heavily penalising carcases of 25kg and above. “Reports are coming in of a very heavy-handed cut-off point of €135.00/hd being imposed on carcase weights of 25kg and over. At €7.00/kg these lambs should be hitting the €161.00 mark with a 23kg weight limit. That is a €26.00 hit that no sheep farmer can afford. Anyone with heavier lambs would be well advised to go to the mart instead.”