By FWi staff

A PREDICTABLE fall in cull ewe values has been recorded at many centres following the end of the retention period this week.

Mainland markets are still under pressure from Irish imports after retention ended on 28 April.

Notably, at Longtown market, Cumbria, auctioneer Neil McCleary saw over 8000 cull ewes forward of which imports would account for about 40% of the entry.

“The trade has been reasonable. Volume coming over would suggest the Irish have tried to shift their culls before our retention ended, but we may see numbers decline in the coming weeks.”

Longtowns Thursday market last week saw averages fall by about 2/head.

But while plain sorts were trading at 8-12/head, strong ewes were making up to 35 apiece with the best at 44.50, reports Mr McCleary.

Cull values continued to slip over the weekend.

At Tauntons Saturday market auctioneer Robert Venner saw another big entry, but prices eased back to average 23.55, a fall of 2.55 on the week.

Monday was the threshold for ewes on retention.

At Welshpool, entries were up about 15% with more hill-type ewes pushing averages down, says Glandon Lewis.

“It would appear a lot of plainer ewes had been kept for subsidy. The poorest sorts were back to last autumns levels at 2-6 each.

“Mules were 8-18 and strong Suffolks with any stretch were up to 29 each.”

Similar signs were seen at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire on Tuesday.

Auctioneer David Willars said: “It is disappointing to see prices come back by 10/head even on the better ewes. The next few weeks will be difficult.”