7 August 1998

Sales welcome feel good factor

WITH summer trading now well under way, store lambs prices have settled around £30/apiece.

Trade started the season better than expected, given the "hammering" a lot of finishers had last season, says auctioneer Clive Roads of McCartneys.

He saw a top of £35.80 at an auction last Saturday, with many animals changing hands between £32 and £34. "Theres not too much wrong with that."

Buoyant finished sheep values are generating a "feel-good factor", says Mr Roads.

At Horsmonden, Kent, 5000-plus stores averaged £29.81 last Wednesday, a drop of nearly £9 on last years record high. Several regular buyers were absent from the ringside, though stock at the event was destined for the south-east, the south-west, Wales and the Midlands.

It was a similar story last weekend at Malton, North Yorks, where the 3000-strong offering of lambs levelled £29.30. Top price was £38.20. A lot of lambs were smaller than last year, says auctioneer Michael Harrison. "The weather has been against them – the lambs need sunshine on their backs and they have not had it this time."

In the breeding sheep section at Malton, the 1600 Suffolk cross gimmer shearlings were typically £12 to £15 less than last year. The average was just under £70, with the best over £75 – and a top of £106. &#42