Meat processor St Merryn Foods is calling on West Country farmers who supplied Lloyd Maunder’s failed lamb business to offer lambs to its South Wales plant or its joint-venture company, south west-based Premier Lamb.

St Merryn livestock director John Dracup said: “We are confident we can guarantee to farmers in the south west and south Wales a dedicated and consistent market for their produce.”

National Sheep Association south west chairman Peter Delbridge was concerned that most of the bigger abattoirs in the south west now did most of their business with Tesco.

“There’s a lack of competition among buyers and we’re unlikely to see the same returns we did from supplying Lloyd Maunder.”

Mr Dracup said the processor was looking for significant volumes of lambs.

“Other buyers from elsewhere in the UK will be looking to take early lambs in the south west and we will have to compete with them.

On that basis, we will have to pay a competitive price.”