Irish Farmers Association’s sheep chairman Sean Dennehy urged producers to consider all options to avoid selling under-finished lambs, including summer meal feeding.
“Under-finished lambs are a significant issue and are causing unnecessary problems on the market in terms of both numbers and price,” he said, adding the country’s meat companies agree prices need to stabilise.
“Market demand is strong with total supply numbers forecast to be less than last year.
“Unfortunately, the amount of under-finished lambs being marketed is adding significantly to numbers at the plants and this in turn is working against farmers on price.
“If these lambs were not presented the price would be better.”
A recent survey of 500 Irish sheep farmers, run by the association, found the sector’s difficulties are caused by high feed costs, increased lamb losses and drought.
It showed 44% of sheep farmers had increased lamb losses during the severe weather this spring. Of them, 24% had losses greater than 10% and more than 7% had losses above 20%.