7 March 1997

British sheep hindered

HIGH productivity means British breeding sheep are making an impact overseas, but the strength of sterling could hamper efforts this year.

Henry Lewis, export marketing manager for the MLC – which was exhibiting with the NSA as British Genetics – said that interest in importing British sheep breeds was increasing.

"The French, in particular, are under quota. We are trying to push productive breeds such as Mules to improve genetics and prolificacy."

Scotch Mules and Scottish Blackfaces were on the British Genetics stand for the first time, alongside Shropshires and North of England Mules.

According to Cumbrian farmer Robert Bell, who has already exported Mules to the Continent, European farmers want more profitable sheep breeds.

"At the moment through, the exchange rate is our biggest concern. I reckon the strong pound is adding about £16/head to ewe prices compared with last year."