Sheep producers urged to focus on market as trade stabilises

Farmers have been told to weigh their lambs regularly and sell them when they are at their prime
Farmers have been told to weigh their lambs regularly and sell them when they are at their prime

A farming union is urging sheep producers to market their lamb to ensure sustainable returns following months of volatile prices as a result of the pandemic.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) said lamb trade continued to stabilise with an increase in demand from processors.

Demand had been strong thanks to reduced third country imports of lamb to the UK and the Islamic festival Eid al-Adha boosting prices.

But despite those positives, prices were down 6p per kg on last week, the union explained.



UFU beef and lamb chairman, Sam Chesney said lamb prices had been volatile this spring as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

But he said market conditions were beginning to improve as there was a 'strong demand', with religious festivals having an impact and helping the export trade to recover.



“Farmers should weigh their lambs regularly and sell them when they are at their prime," Mr Chesney said, "They must look at all options for increasing revenue."

He added: "There is a strong demand for store lambs at present, and we are encouraging our farmers to sell lambs at the correct weight and fat cover in accordance with retailer specifications."

Processors were paying up to 21kgs but some in the Republic of Ireland were paying between 21.5-22kgs, which left sheep producers killing locally at a disadvantage, he said.

“Our farmers have continued to overcome numerous obstacles to ensure that product continues to be moved off farm, reaching shop shelves so consumers can purchase food when needed without worrying about how it was produced or where it came from,” Mr Chesney said.