27 October 1998
Sheep prices about to fall lower?

PRICES are continuing to fall in the sheep industry, reports The Herald.

Cast ewes have fallen by 50% at least. Store lamb sales have been difficult all summer.

The future looks bleak, too. Figures from the Meat and Livestock Commission suggest that because this years kill is 200,000 down on a normal year, the industry will be going into next year carrying the overhang. Scotland is contributing a disproportionate share.

Reasons for the Scottish figures are reckoned by the paper to be twofold. First, lambs have not relished a sunless summer and near-incessant rain. Second, farmers have been holding back on hopes that the market might improve.

But markets have remained depressed. Last week in the markets, prices crashed to little more than 65p/kg.

Analysts reckon the backlog of lambs is going to hit the market shortly and suggest that there is almost no chance of an immediate upturn in price.

One beneficial change could lie in the Pound falling against European currencies. Exports have been difficult throughout the summer.

New Zealand imports look set to be reduced following a poor lamb crop, but The Herald warns that making forecasts about Asias intentions is risky, given the economic turmoil in the region.

  • The Herald 27/10/98 page 26