Foot and mouth crisis starts to bite on farmers’ cashflows.

Livestock producers’ businesses continue to suffer as they face the loss of major sales fixtures and abattoir standstills following Wednesday’s foot and mouth outbreak.

Suffolk and Lleyn breeder Malcolm Stewart had been due to sell 130 tups at Kelso ram sales today (14 September), but thankfully hadn’t moved the sheep to the sale when movement restrictions were announced on Wednesday.

“I’m now busy selling tups from the farm, with about half the first draw sold already to a top price of £1500, and the best commercial rams making about £750.”

But he does not know how soon he’ll be able to move these sheep to buyers and is frustrated at being denied the chance to sell tups by auction.

“From the number of telephone calls I’ve taken this morning and the volume of rams I’ve already sold we would have had a great trade at Kelso and it’s annoying to be hamstrung like this again. I’ve been prevented from making the best of the sheep I’ve got and it will affect income.”

Pigs in pen

Pig producers are once again grappling with pig movement and export restrictions.

The backlog of slaughter pigs from the 3rd August outbreak has still to be cleared.

There are hopes that movements under licence for slaughter, only for regions away from the latest Surrey outbreak, will follow after restrictions were relaxed in Wales.

After the 3rd August outbreak it was only three working days before abattoirs were back at work.

NPA calls for a movement timetable to be announced immediately

Pig processors fear a one-week slaughter standstill would add an additional 170,000 finished pigs and 4,000 cull sows to lengthening queues.

Non-slaughter movements could take longer than this to put in place, but the National Pig Association is calling for a movement timetable to be announced immediately.

This is to head off retailers switching to larger volumes of imported pig meat to fill their shelves until UK slaughtering restarts.

The cull sow market has also been brought to a standstill following the export ban.

All major UK cull sow abattoirs are reported to have chillers full of sow carcases that will now have to be absorbed onto the domestic market with live sows effectively trapped in their lairages until more refrigerated space can be found.

It also looks unlikely that an early announcement will be made to resume meat and livestock exports which will put further downward pressure on the UK market.

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