14 January 2000

French action hits lamb price

LIGHT lamb values plummeted at markets in Wales earlier this week following a temporary loss of export markets caused by haulier demonstrations in France.

The speed at which prices fell proved that the economic success of the UK sheep industry relied on access to foreign markets, claimed David Owen, chief executive of Farmers Ferry.

Auctioneer Lyndon Trumper at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire saw super light lambs drop 20p/kg at market on Tuesday to 67.73p/kg liveweight while light lambs were slightly higher at 74.24p/kg, although this still marked a fall of over 13p on the week.

Throughput of light lambs at markets on Monday also fell, with numbers down by 28%. And at Mold just 12 light lambs were taken to market.

Auctioneer Andrew Thomas of Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan saw light lamb values 4-5p lower at market on Tuesday. And at a sale of mountain sheep orders from buyers were substantially reduced.

But he believed a drop in prices would have been seen anyway due to the traditional increase in numbers of heavier lambs coming off roots, although it was exacerbated by the haulage problems in France. "It is a lack of confidence all round that is the problem."

However, Mr Owen added: "With this level of proof, no one should ever again question the value of the European market." &#42