By FWi staff

BELEAGUERED sheep farmers were offered little hope this week as finished lamb prices plummeted again at livestock markets around the country.

Light lamb prices fell 4.02p to 47p/kg at markets throughout England and Wales yesterday (Tuesday).

Medium lambs dropped 3.10p to 63.89p/kg and heavy lambs fell to 61.89p/kg.

At Salisbury, Wiltshire, lambs went for as little as 54.83p/kg, while the top price fetched was £25.80/head for a 47kg lamb. Ewes made £20/head and stores £21.

“The average price was most disappointing and lamb numbers coming forward are low,” said Nigel Kay of Southern Counties Auctioneers.

At Colchester, Essex, the best prices made were 74-75p/kg.

“Very hard” was the conclusion given by auctioneer Graham Ellis.

“Light lambs were difficult to shift at all,” he said. “Were lucky that we have a small group of buyers who are prepared to pay that bit more than the national average.”

Overall average prices at Colchester were driven down about 5p/kg on the previous week by a 25% increase in marketings.

A number of lambs went home unsold and Mr Ellis forecast that the trend would continue due to the large number of lambs still on-farm.

“Prices are not likely to rise before Christmas because the trade is just not there,” he said. “Prices are likely to remain low until at least January.”

“The lack of skin price is still the biggest one influence on the market. Without that £8 per skin, prices are really suffering.”