5 May 1995

Boost for lambs now imminent

SPRING lambs were meeting a variable trade early this week, after a period of falling prices in many markets.

But as farmers weekly went to press (Tuesday), auctioneers were suggesting that major buyers would switch across to lambs at the end of the week, boosting demand.

At Skipton on Monday, an average of 133p/kg was taken. Monmouth, meanwhile, levelled at 128p/kg.

"Prices have fallen about 20p/kg in some areas," says Monmouths Stephen Watkin. "But the faster it falls, the more likely it is to bounce back," he adds. "We could see the 140p/kg mark reached temporarily."

"Prices are never dearer at the end of May than they are in the middle," says Mr Watkin. "I think we will see a sharper trade for about 10 days from now, but then once we get to the middle of May, prices will be on a downward spiral."

At Hereford, auctioneer David Probert describes Mondays average of 124p/kg as "very disappointing". Trade for hoggets, meanwhile, at Hereford, he says, has "effectively ended". The 700 sold on Monday averaged 112p/kg. Numbers are expected to fall by about half next week.

Mr Probert is cautious about the lamb price improvement likely to result from any increased demand. "There are a lot waiting to come forward," he says.

And of a similar sentiment is Simon Alford at Hallworthy. "There may soon be more bite in the trade, but this may not lead to any immediate price improvement," he comments.