According to IFA sheep chairman, Sean Dennehy, lamb prices are ranging from €6.90-€7.10/kg this week (week of Monday, January 17th, 2022) despite lower quotes.
He hit out at some factories implementing price and weight penalties, describing this as “short-sighted and unnecessary”.
He believes that supplies will remain tight. Therefore, he dvised farmers to move lambs as they become fit to “maximise” returns and “maintain bargaining power” with factories.
“Farmers feeding lambs ad-lib should watch weights to avoid penalties,” Dennehy said in a statement.
He added that market conditions that underpinned the sheep trade for the past two years look set to continue for 2022.
“Demand for sheepmeat in China will continue to drive the global trade as New Zealand and Australia focus on supplying this lucrative market.”
“Consumption of sheep meat in China has increased by 9% since 2018,” he added.
He pointed out that this change in supply pattern has resulted in New Zealand filling only 46% of its EU quota.
He added that this is the lowest in decades, which increases the opportunity for Irish exports.
Easter, Ramadan and issues in the UK
Dennehy predicts that trade will hold “steady” over the coming months. He said that with supply and demand balanced, Easter and Ramadan in early April would be “key drivers” of trade.
He believes that ongoing issues with UK access to the EU market would create openings for Irish lamb.
The IFA sheep chairman said the anticipated relaxation to COVID-19 controls for the foodservice sector over the coming weeks will increase demand for lamb in the domestic and export markets.
Furthermore, he pointed out that with COVID-19 cases falling, workforce issues will ease.
Gardaí’s message regarding dog attacks
Meanwhile, Gardaí have issued a reminder to members of the public following “a number” of reports of dogs worrying sheep and wandering on farmland.
The Garda National Community Policing Unit has developed an information sheet carrying key messages relating to dog attacks.
Firstly, it pointed out that dogs kill or injure over 3,000 sheep each year.
Gardaí highlighted that sheep are “valuable assets” and any harm to them “harms a farmer’s livelihood”.