LAMB producers are enjoying unusually high prices paid for the seasonal product as international factors drive the market here.
As households sought spring lamb for the Easter Sunday lunch table, marts were reporting “fantastic trade” for sheep which saw prices in butchers’ shops increase accordingly.
On 24 March Enniskillen Ulster Farmers Mart reported a “steady trade” with the top price paid for spring lambs £160.
Lamb prices are expected to stay strong, at least in the short term, according to Bord Bía’s sheep and livestock manager Seamus McMenamin.
He puts the high prices down to lack of supply from New Zealand – a market still recovering from drought – and the majority of sheep exports from New Zealand going to China.
The Bord Bía manager said the fact that European sheep meat production fell by around two per cent last year, combined with a shortfall in imports, “has resulted in some European supermarkets not having enough available lamb to meet demand,” he said pointing to the obvious advantages for Irish lamb producers.
Mr McMenamin went on to point out that strengthening market prices for Irish lamb will boost the fortunes of flock owners across the island of Ireland and he puts it down to the Northern Ireland protocol which was written into the Brexit withdrawal agreement and allows the unfettered, cross-border movement of sheep.
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