20 September 1996

Mule gimmer prices hot up in North

By Jeremy Hunt

A BLISTERING trade for North of England Mule gimmer lambs has sent prices rocketing in the last week.

Averages have risen by around £25 a head at major sales as dealers and south country buyers compete feverishly for stock.

The BSE issue is partly responsible for this confidence. But demand is also being fired by the strong prime and store lamb prices. Also helping are the healthy profits reaped by south and Midlands sheepmen who sold shearlings at the summer fairs.

Shearlings, which reared a lamb, earned premium and made £40 on top of their 1995 buying price are at the root of much of the 1996 trade for gimmer lambs.

At Skipton, North Yorks last Tuesday, the 12,200 Mule gimmer lambs averaged £74.27, up £26 on last year. Top price was £150. And even the 2000 smaller lambs from high Dales farms, sold the following day, averaged £63.94.

A rise of almost £24 lifted the average to over £76 for 14,000 gimmer lambs at Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria last Friday as dealers with full order books were keen to meet customers requirements now in the hope that these lambs may at least take the tup. Many dealers feel running lambs could once again look very dear in October.

The autumn breeding sheep trade was given its biggest boost at the first main sale of Mule gimmer shearlings held at Lazonby, Cumbria last week. Prices reached a record-breaking average of over £94.13 – up £19.24 – for the 13,243 head sold.

&#8226 Finished lamb prices showed a downturn early this week. Mondays average, at 119.47p/kg, was 4p less the previous week. But it still represented an 18p/kg (18%) rise on the figure recorded at the same time last year.