Foot-and-mouth: Farmers already counting the cost of new disease outbreak

For more thoughts on foot-and-mouth read the Food For Thought blog and the Taking Stock blog. You can also add your own comments

Farmers Weekly’s livestock editor Jonathan Long has been blogging about the potential impact of this latest foot-and-mouth outbreak. Here are his thoughts:

“Gut wrenching, that’s the only way I can describe this latest outbreak of foot and mouth. While the last outbreak in early August made life difficult, this one will make life next to impossible.

With sheep breeding sales kicking off again this week I was due to have sheep at two markets tomorrow in a bid to play catch up and finally earn some money this year. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m only small-scale compared to many, but even so I now face the very real possibility of losing up to £3000 of income, some of which has already been deferred from sales due to take place in early August.

This though is not a plea for pity, my loss is nothing compared to those likely to be suffered by others also due to sell stock in the next few days and weeks. Consider the case of my friend Malcolm Stewart, Brotherstone, Melrose. As a ram breeder tomorrow’s Kelso Ram sales are usually one of his largest pay days of the year. Last year he averaged more than £550 of the 98 Suffolk tups he sold at Kelso.

This year he would have traded more than 130 tups there, I’ll leave to do the sums on what that means for his business. He, like many of us are now wondering just when, indeed if he’ll be able to sell any tups at all this year.

Continue reading “Facing up to the nightmare again” on the Food For Thought blog. For updates on what is happening on the sales front then check out the Taking Stock blog. You can also add your own comments.