Producers disheartened by drop in lamb prices

Thursday, 6 June, 2013

Speaking after a UK and Ireland Livestock Officeholders meeting this week Ulster Farmers' Union Beef and Lamb Chairman Robert Davidson has said that sheep farmers in Northern Ireland are disheartened by a recent drop in lamb prices. Earlier this week factories were quoting 485-490p/kg and now quotes are down to 440p/kg for spring lambs.

Robert Davidson said; “In real terms, this is a fairly steep drop and it is causing anger amongst producers. Sheep farmers have had an extremely tough year and the early Easter and a late spring have not helped the sector any.

Such a dramatic drop in price within a few days seems wholly unjustified, particularly as prices appear to have held firm across the water. We need to see some stabilisation in the market and to put confidence back into producers. The recent good weather has given the industry a small boost but the general mood amongst sheep producers is still low. Over the last 18 months farmers have battled though unpredictable and unseasonal weather patterns, rising input costs, and fodder shortages. All of which have eroded farm margins and this latest price drop is another blow.

“My advice to our sheep farmers is to continue to market lambs strongly, whether using the live trade or otherwise, and to not hold onto lambs for longer than necessary given the expense of finishing. I would also remind producers of the need to produce in-spec within the correct weight range to avoid giving away ‘gift kilos’ which are not economical to produce.”