By FW staff

LOW cull prices tempting producers to hold on to ewes risk delaying any possible increase in price.

So warns John Thorley, chief executive of the National Sheep Association.

“Breeding sow numbers are falling and poultry companies are reducing holding sizes, so those meats are likely to increase in price in future, providing an opportunity for sheepmeat to become more competitive again.”

But that hinges on lamb production, warns Mr Thorley. “Its important not to breed any extra lambs this year.

“If 80,000 sheep producers keep back 10 cull ewes each because of low prices, there will be an extra million lambs for sale next year. That would be a disaster for the industry.”

Cull ewes should be sold now, he urges. These ewes require more management, and may contribute to over-winter feed shortages and over-grazing next summer.