IFA’s National Sheep Chairman, Sean Dennehy has advised farmers selling hoggets to shop round to make sure they are getting full value.
He also pointed out that factories were extremely anxious for stock at the moment and prices were rising rapidly with €6.00/kg up to 24kgs on offer.
“€5.90 is widely available and paid as strong market demand and tight supplies continue to drive the trade,” he continued.
“With Easter now in the first week of April, factories are looking to procure increased supplies at this stage, and in addition, there is some pent up demand in the trade due to the weather problems, where the kill has dropped back to only 35,000.
“The factories are extremely anxious for lambs and have told agents to let nothing slip by.”
The IFA sheep farmer leader went on to say that while spring lamb supplies would be very scarce for Easter, early lamb producers would need at least €150 per head to cover the higher costs this year - and still leave a margin.
“With hoggets at €6.00/kg, butchers, wholesalers and factories would have to offer up to €150 for top quality spring lamb,” he continued, before pointing out that some factories have been talking with suppliers about offering €8.00/kg for milk lambs up to 13kgs.
“This may be a good option for some farmers, depending on their grass and work situation as the year progresses but there are significant difficulties arising on lowland farms where farmers are unable to get ewes and new born lambs out because of the conditions.
Rising temperatures and damp conditions dramatically increase the risk of infections, particularly at lambing.”