12 May 1995

Earlies catch Easter peak

FOR traditional early lambing flocks this seasons lamb prices have been about £5-£6 a head down on last year.

Lancashire farmer William Pye runs about 500 ewes at Cliffdale Farm, Thurnham, Lancaster, and though different breeds and crosses see lambing under way right through the spring, a January-born crop aims to catch the "top" Easter trade.

"We are aiming to produce our own homebred Suffolk x Scotch Halfbred ewes to give us three-quarter-bred Suffolk lambs," he says. "We have had a good selling through Lancaster Auction Mart and have been up to £60 at Easter.

"We were drawing £52-£53 apiece for 37kg lambs in late April but that is still back on the year," says Mr Pye. But he recognises there are no short-cuts.

"Everything goes out after lambing, but you have to keep those creep feeders full. There are no half measures. Wet weather held lambs back a bit on weight, but when they had dry feed in front of them they grew frame." &#42