By FW staff

DEMAND for sheep quota has tailed off as the 4 February deadline for making claims looms.

English LFA sale prices fell back from the recent high of £44 to nearer £34 a unit as more arrived on the market, says Kate Waller of Penrith Farmers & Kidds.

Supplies also increased as farmers realised that, after leasing it out for three years, selling was the only option under the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule.

And not everyone has been hunting quota, either, with some people put off by the requirement to keep animals on which premium is claimed until after 15 May.

Leasing inquiries, meanwhile, remained plentiful, with many seeing this as preferable to the higher capital outlay option of buying, she says.

Mark Campbell of Greenslade Taylor Hunt has also seen a reluctance to buy. Even those producers that do have the money may be concerned that sheep quota is an asset the long-term future of which is unknown.

At the firms auction at Taunton last Saturday (23 January), GB lowland was changing hands at £9 to £9.50 a unit.

This seasons demand has been buoyant, he says, because of the reluctance to sell to stock at depressed prices. “People have been chasing the subsidy because the marketplace is so poor for sheep that you cant afford to miss out on any money.”