By FWi staff

HOGGET prices have continued their upward trend since the start of the year at markets across the country on the back of a strong demand and limited supply.

Having started the year at 83.7p/kg liveweight, hogget values have recently traded above 108p/kg at auction, says a spokesman from the Meat and Livestock Commission.

“The price levels currently being achieved are well in excess of the depressed values seen during the first quarter of both 1999 and 1998 when hogget supplies were particularly high.”

Values were almost 15p/kg up on last year at markets in February averaging 103.86p/kg rising to over 108p/kg at the start of this month.

Despite a slight drop over the past week to 106.88p/kg the outlook for the coming weeks looks good, says auctioneer Michael Bowe of Penrith market, Cumbria.

Lambs short of condition have eased back slightly, although good lambs are maintaining similar prices to recent weeks, he says.

“Numbers are drying up week by week and, in another month, there will be very few around.”

But Mr Bowe says that although farmers will be making some profit at these firmer prices it will only go some way to repaying the losses that were made in the past two years.