By FWi staff
FARMERS representatives have called on the Government and European Union to start a private storage aid scheme for sheep.
The move follows a meeting of NFU officials with their counterparts in Scotland and Ireland to discuss the slump in sheep prices and the oversupplied market in lamb.
At markets in England and Wales yesterday, new season lambs were making an average of 111p/kg. But old season lambs were selling for less than 80p/kg. Prices in Scotland were similar.
“The sheep market is in an awful state,” said George Lyon, acting president of the Scottish NFU.
“Urgent action is needed now to remove the large carryover of lambs from 1997. A private storage aid scheme would give the market a much needed lift before the 1998 lamb crop comes on stream.”
Many sheep farmers are selling last seasons store lambs for less than they paid for them. Losses have been compounded by the cost of implementing the new SRM regulations and the effect of the strong Pound which has weakened exports.
A private storage aid scheme is the only market support mechanism available to the sheep industry.