By FWi staff

NEW-SEASON lamb prices are providing some cheer for farmers at a time when pig and cattle values are still in the doldrums.

Jeremy Hosking, who farms in Cornwall, saw a batch of his make 280p/kg deadweight last week.

“I was happy with that because a month or so ago – I was expecting about 240p,” he said. “If it hits the 300p-mark, Ill be delighted.”

At about 19kg deadweight, lambs are now topping £50 a head, providing some compensation for the poor beef business, Mr Hosking added.

Auctioneer Bob Mosley at Truro, Cornwall, said £50 was an important psychological price in a market which has been depressed over the past few months.

Confidence is high – and people are upbeat about the prospects through to June or July, he said.

“Its looking very healthy. What we dont want, though, is for the trade to overcook itself. We want a steady climb.”

Auctioneer Ashley Ward has also seen more buoyancy in the sheep business at Guildford, Surrey, where the first spring lambs were sold this week.

“The mood is pretty good,” he said.

Easter demand should keep trade firm if numbers are limited but prices could weaken afterwards if hoggets are plentiful and buyers reluctant to switch to new-season sheep.

Lambs yesterday averaged 135p/kg liveweight at auction marts in England and Wales with hoggets level at 99.7p/kg.