IRELAND - Irish sheep farmers have hit out at new cuts in the prices being offered by processors.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association said that meat plants now quoting €4.80/kg, following on from a drop to €5.20/kg last week.
ICSA sheep chairman Paul Brady said: "These recent price cuts are completely unwarranted and putting severe pressure on farmers.
"There appears to be no issue with demand. Ramadan continues for most of this month and factories are happy to quote but €4.80/kg is an unrealistic price for our product. While prices do tend to slip back at this time of year, a drop of 70c in a matter of weeks is completely overdone and out of line with international markets.
"It also continues to be a source of frustration that factories are only quoting for lambs up to 21kg. While some supermarket and continental markets have very rigid specs in terms of weight, there are many domestic outlets for slightly heavier lambs. ICSA also believes that lambs with top-grade conformation should be very saleable at 22 or 23kg.
"We now seem to be in a damaging race to the bottom, as factories try to run ahead of the traditional late summer price drop," Mr Brady added.
"This is a further example of manipulation of prices by meat factories, just as we have seen already this year in relation to beef."
TheMeatSite News Desk