By FWi staff

FINISHED lambs failed to maintain their recent price gains and slipped back slightly at livestock markets this week.

Lamb prices slipped back 2.38p to 67.40p/kg, while light ewes also drifted 0.61p to 15.04p/kg. But heavy ewes had a better week, climbing 5.30p to 24.23p/kg.

Prices held reasonably well, but fell back 0.3p on average, said auctioneer Malcolm Gale of Lichfield market, Staffordshire.

Demand wasnt bad either he said: “Many ewes are being purchased for the Muslim festival of Ramadan.”

But top values were down slightly as buyers attempted to pull prices back, said Mr Gale. “Its the better-finished stock that are wanted,” he said.

Prices over the next few weeks depend on the numbers of lambs brought forward. If a large number are entered, the market could be depressed, said Mr Gale: “But, so far, were not seeing an exceptional number coming through.”

This was echoed by Mike Coldicott of Andoversford market, Gloucestershire who said that quality stock will be in demand, although the tail-end could struggle.

Theyve not got the right conformation to obtain a premium price, he said.

But prices are still diabolical, said auctioneer Richard Lewis of Haverfordwest market, Pembrokeshire – “Not when you compare the price to that in the shops,” he said.

Lambs fetched between £26 and £28/head at the market this week, and Mr Lewis said that it would be very difficult to say what will happen over the next couple of weeks.

He blames the wet weather for the low prices. Its not good for fattening, he said. Unlike Lichfield market, demand has not been good at Haverfordwest.