By FWi staff

AN improvement in the quality of lambs and better weather conditions meant that lambs presented at markets this week saw prices rises of up to 4p/kg.

There were more lambs about this week than last, but they were clean, dry and well-presented and these made a premium, said one auctioneer.

The overall climate has been dry, and this makes a big difference, said auctioneer Martin Lister of Otley market, West Yorkshire.

Lamb prices averaged 57p/kg, noted Mr Lister, and the better trade was put down to the better show. Demand was also good, he said. “Post-Christmas people get fed up with turkey.”

But trade was no better than before at Melton Mowbray market, Leicestershire, said a spokesman there. Trade was similar to last week averaging 62.4p/kg although prices had lifted the week before Christmas due to lower numbers, he said.

Trade was better at Scots Gap, Northumberland, although the few pence increase was still nothing to get excited about, said auctioneer, Trevor Simpson.

“The well-fleshed lambs lifted overall prices, while wet and dirty samples werent bidded for,” he said.

Lambs must be clean and dry to market, stressed Mr Simpson. Top Texel samples made over 70p/kg at the market this week, but dirty lambs brought average values down to 64-65p/kg.

Its in the farmers corner at the moment, said Mr Simpson. “Its their responsibility to make sure animals are clean and dry.”

The large number of animals about at the moment means that prices are unlikely to pick up over the next few weeks. Producers will have to sell their stock as they wont be able to afford to keep feeding them, he said.

Theres not much hope of an increase before March, said Mr Simpson. “Id like to see it, but cant see how it can.”

And what will happen this autumn unless something dramatic happens, asked Mr Simpson. “Everyone has kept extra ewes back so there will be even more lambs on the market again.”