Farmer Focus Livestock: Matthew Cole is pleased with rising lamb prices

The bad weather has hopefully passed by the time you read this. We are in the midst of a prolonged cold spell with sub-zero temperatures and snow and my thoughts are with farmers in the upland hills who are probably experiencing worse conditions.

So far the sheep are holding their own, with feed and blocks available. Hopefully, this will see them through. After having to dig sheep out of drifts last year, the old boys chatting about “winters aren’t like they used to be” came back to haunt me. We are checking sheep as often as possible and they are in lower risk pastures to try and avoid a repeat. Adding to the problem is the fact every man and his dog wants to play in the snow, all trying to access Dartmoor clambering over gates, fences and blocking roads and gateways, great fun when you are not trying to farm livestock in and around it.

We will start scanning soon and as the inevitable life cycle of the farm turns we are counting what is yet to be born, as last year’s lambs are nearly all gone. Just a few scraggy tail-enders, which ironically are making better money than those early high-performers.

As a lamb producer I’m happy as prices continue to soar. But being heavily involved with Dartmoor Farmers, which is marketing premium beef and lamb, I can see the prices will inevitably put some customers off. So with both hats on, I am reluctantly cautious the lamb market avoids getting over cooked.

I know we must make hay when the sun shines, but a good, honest, sustainable price, is the future. What that price is, however, is the million-dollar question I am not qualified to answer.

• For more columns from other Livestock Farmer Focus writers

See more