5 July 2002

Numbers up but lamb values slip

LAMB trade eased again last week with markets showing prices well down on the week before as numbers really start to build.

This is despite uncertainty over the export trade to France, which was eventually cleared up last week when the French government relented to pressure from its own trade, and British industry bodies, to postpone its ban on specified risk material in lambs over six-months-old.

Northampton Market had nearly twice the number of lambs it had the week before with 1900 passing under the hammer, but prices slipped by 10p/kg to average 106p/kg (225p/kg deadweight equivalent).

Auctioneer Brian Pile notes: "The French job could be being used as a bit of an excuse, but this is the first week when the trade has been not as good."

He reckons it is mainly bigger throughputs which have forced the price down.

Brightwells, auctioneers at Tenbury Market in Worcs, also reported an easier trade with 1200 finished lambs through the ring last week. A bigger entry saw average quality lambs level at 107.5p/kg. &#42