26 September 1997

Gimmer Mules keep stable

NORTH of England Mule gimmer lambs are not expected to get any cheaper as the season progresses.

Averages so far have been similar to 12 months ago. The 18,500 Mule gimmer lambs at Lazonby, Cumbria last week achieved an average of £72.29 which was £2.16 down on the year.

Penrith Farmers and Kidds auctioneer Richard Morris said: "There is a stable equilibrium between buyers and sellers. South country buyers have made money out of their shearlings this year and they are not having to give much more for their lambs this time.

"This year there is confidence in sheep and plenty of keep. Prices should remain stable."

Cumbria farmers Martin Graham and his son Stephen took 369 Mule gimmer lambs to the main sale at Carlisle last week and averaged £72.80. Their total ewe lamb sales so far are around 30p a head up.

"Its been a poor summer. Weve only has three weeks of good weather and that was spread out over three months. Lambs are smaller but it hasnt affected our prices," said Stephen Graham.

"Buyers have paid £72 apiece for our best lambs and around £67 for the others. Thats not a big gap."

But buyers have been quality conscious. Trade for stock at sales not held under the auspices of the North of England Mule Association has seen discounted prices for lambs out of cross-bred Swaledale ewes of up to £10 a head.

Lambs from the fells of the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire provided the bulk of the 7000 entry of gimmers at Lancaster Auction Mart where the average was down nearly £6 to £63.83.n