The Ulster Farmers’ Union says as farmgate prices for lamb continue to fall at an alarming rate and with the cost of production on the rise, sheep farmers are facing a totally unsustainable situation.
UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “Income for sheep farmers has taken a huge hit over a number of weeks. Prices are down approximately 23p/kg from this time last year, working out to roughly £4.83 less per lamb.
“Lambs sold at market are struggling to make around £3.00-3.20/kg, which doesn’t even come close to covering the cost of production. Sheep farmers are beyond frustrated and are doing everything they can to keep their businesses financially viable. Low prices, market uncertainty, and Brexit are all contributing to this serious situation and they are taking their toll on producers as they try to keep businesses profitable.
“Now many sheep processors in the Republic of Ireland are paying up to 21.5/22kgs. Our local factories should move in line with this which would create some extra income for many NI sheep producers.”
The UFU has met with government officials and the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association, and is working on proposals that would help provide some future certainty for sheep producers.