11 August 1995

Lambs buoyed by away buyers

RESULTS from summer sheep fairs are showing store lambs generally making similar or slightly better prices than last year despite the serious keep shortage.

"Away" buyers are supporting the trade in many areas. At Horsmonden, Kent, for example, buyers from the West Country, Norfolk and Yorkshire took over 4000 of the 7400 head on offer. And despite the lack of grass the overall average improved 16p/kg on 1994 to £28.93. But for these buyers underpinning the trade, it would have been a different outcome, says auctioneer Alan Mummery.

Most of the Horsmonden lambs were Suffolk and Texel crosses, with trade particularly brisk for the smaller, long-term stock. Stronger stores went for £30 to £35, mediums from £27 to £30 and smalls from £24 to £27.

At the Honeybourne sale in Worcs, buyers from the north and the south west helped nudge up prices £1 on last year to £31.42. There, mediums comprised most of the entry, selling to £32 with many bunches about the £30 mark.

And also averaging £31.42 were the lambs forward at the Special Early Show and Sale at Malton, N Yorks, last Saturday.

At the Bicester Fair (full report page 32) only three pens of the 10,670 stores on offer failed to find new homes. Despite the drought, there were only a few tail-end lambs on offer, although some vendors did fail to arrive with sheep they had entered. This was "a decision they may regret considering the better than expected prices", say the auctioneers. &#42


Sheep fairs: Average store lamb prices

(£ a head)

1995 entry19951994

Honeybourne, Worcs

12,20031.4230.42

Horsmonden, Kent

7,41728.9328.77

Partney, Lincs

2,50029.3228.32