In this news article, ICSA sheep chair, Sean McNamara, explains why lambs must reach €9.30/kg, as finishing costs continue to rise.
The increased cost of finishing lambs this winter will push sheep farmers out of business unless processors commit to increasing prices substantially.
With the current price of meal, feeding lambs this winter will be impossible at today’s factory prices.
Lambs weighing 30kg now will need 70 days of feeding to get them to a factory-fit weight by the middle of January – which ICSA has calculated will cost around €60 per lamb.
But with factory prices hovering around the €6.30/kg mar, there is zero incentive for sheep farmers to keep going and to commit to buying meal that is now costing about €500 per tonne.
Throughout November 2021, prices stood at €7.30-€7.40/kg; that is a full euro ahead of where they are this year.
This makes absolutely no sense when our costs have gone up so significantly.
There is just no logic to it, and it is the reason so many sheep farmers are seriously questioning their ability to continue.
Sheep farmers have always been last in line when it comes to government supports, so we rely on getting a fair price for what we are producing.
Right now, a fair price for what we are producing would be at least two euros more per kilo than we were getting this time last year, which is to say a minimum of €9.30/kg.
This is what we need to offset our increased cost of production, and that is the level we need to get to.
Processors, as well as retailers, simply cannot continue to ignore the basic maths around the cost of producing food.
Sean McNamara, (58) from Co. Westmeath is a progressive sheep and suckler farmer who has ambitious plans as ICSA sheep chairman.
The Lismacaffrey native grew up on a suckler-to-beef farm and dropped out of school aged fourteen to continue his father’s legacy.
He plans to form a farm partnership with his 23-year-old son, Shane; they run an enterprise, which comprises 40 sucklers, 80 yearlings, 30 replacement heifers and 800 ewes.
Read more on this exclusive interview with That’s Farming.