Beef and sheep farmers in the south-west are losing up to £1m a week due to suspended exports, according to the English Beef and Lamb Executive.

In a normal autumn at least £425,000 of beef and £250,000 of lamb were exported every week, said regional manager Peter Reynolds.

“Our overseas customers have proven pretty robust but there is a limit as to how long they can remain without looking for alternative suppliers,” he said.

Lamb prices had plummeted by 10-12p/kg, to about 85p/kg liveweight in the region, as a direct result of the loss of exports, said auctioneer Rob Venner. “All the abattoirs are saying the lamb trade is going to get worse.”

He hopes DEFRA will agree to calls for regional live markets and exports to free up trade. “We desperately need some store and breeding markets.”