Nearly half of sheep in Wales failed to meet carcass specification last year, according to Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru.

The wet summer in 2012 contributed to a drop in the number of lambs meeting the market requirements- with only 57% of sheep in Wales meeting the required specifications, a fall of 1%.

The figures, produced for HCC, revealed a quarter of all lambs that went through Welsh abattoirs last year had the correct level of conformation, but did not meet the preferred fat classifications.

“This could be a result of the poor weather last year, which made it harder for farmers to get their lambs to achieve the correct level of finish,” said John Richards, HCC’s industry and market information officer.

“With rising costs at the forefront of most farmers’ minds at the moment, the financial impact of keeping a lamb for too long and the penalties associated cannot be overlooked as this can lead to a significant loss of potential income,” he said.

Mr Richards stressed the importance of selecting lambs at the correct time and emphasised the financial boost it can mean for their business.

A positive to come out of last year’s carcass classification results is a drop in the number of lamb carcasses in the O and P classifications, which are given to carcasses with poorer conformation.

“This drop is welcome as it indicates that the genetics in the Welsh flock are continuing to improve,” said Mr Richards.

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