By Tim Relf
STORE lambs are making about £30 at the seasons early sales. The average price of £30 at Ingham, Suffolk last Friday marked a £7 drop on last years auction.
“But it was better than expected,” says auctioneer Philip Dale, who reckons plentiful grass supplies put a bottom in the trade.
Top store bid was £40 – but stock typically was smaller as a year ago. Farmers, he says, have already sold the better ones as finished animals in view of the relatively buoyant prime prices.
It was a similar pattern among the breeders, too, with lower cull ewe values being reflected in what people were prepared to pay. Top price for shearling ewes was £72.50 for Scotch halfbreds. “They would have made £80 last year,” says Mr Dale.
At Skipton, North Yorks, auctioneer Paddy Wrightson says good stores have been changing hands for £34-35/head, a fall of £3 or £4 on the year. “Its as good as we can expect.”
Farmers have been selling more recently than at the corresponding time in 1997. “Drawing harder, earlier,” as he puts it.
And the £30-mark was the rate at which stores were typically trading at early offerings at Exeter mart. “Certainly not wild prices,” says auctioneer Alan Venner.