Business

Spring lamb prices 'not good enough' say farmers

A cool spring has affected lamb performance

FARMERS have slammed spring lamb prices as "not good enough".

The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) beef and lamb chairman Crosby Cleland said prices for new season lambs had failed to reflect the impact of the stronger euro, which he said should be delivering better returns for early sheep producers.

“Currency should be helping local processors selling lamb into the European market – but farmers are not seeing any benefits,” said Mr Cleland.

“This week we have seen quotes drop to £4.30/kg for spring lambs which I do not see any justification for. It would appear that processors are waiting in expectation of a greater volume of spring lambs to come forward in the coming weeks.

"The cool spring has meant lamb performance has not been at an optimum level and this is reflected in the lower than normal number of lambs coming forward."

Mr Cleland said tighter numbers and more favourable currency should mean stronger prices, but at the minute it would appear that processors are deliberately undermining the positive impact this should be having.

The stronger euro has resulted in factory agents from south of the border more active in marts here since the turn of the year.

The UFU claimed the majority of Northern Ireland lambs sold each week are now going directly for slaughter across the border.

This is in contrast to the trading conditions last year when the majority were slaughtered in local plants. With prices here lagging well behind producer expectations I would encourage all farmers to consider the live market where there may be more competition,” added Mr Cleland.

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