Milk lambs and cull ewes in demand

Its that time of the week again where I grab a few minutes to scour the primestock reports from across the country and as expected cull ewe prices have pushed on upwards again this week with a top call of £123 recorded in Melton Mowbray on Tuesday for Texels from P Weaver, Newark.

Meanwhile at Bakewell on Monday trade peaked at £106 for more Texels, while Suffolks were just shy of that level at £105.

Among the new season lambs offered at centres this week Bakewell saw a top price of £124.79/head for 39.3kg entries, while further south at Ashford more than 100 head were entered for the annual Easter show and sale and trade was particularly brisk with first prize winners topping the market at £95 (249.41p per kg) for 34kg Texel Cross from S Becvar and an overall average of 233.79p per kg.

At Kirkby Stephen the Easter show was led by Messrs Bousfield, Holme Farm. Their Texel bred lamb sold for £120 (279.10p/kg) to the judge for Messrs Steadman, Kirkby Stephen.  The reserve champion was awarded to a Beltex bred lamb from Mr R Wilson, Low Field which sold for £98 (272.20p/kg) again to the judge.  Lambs were keenly sought after averaging £86.88 (238p/kg).


Meanwhile, on the hogget front Hexham reported a top call of £105 for Suffolk crosses from The Whins whose consignment of 105 Suffolk cross hoggets avergaed £98.66.

So, all in all the sheep trade looks to be fine health, but what has to be remembered is that a lot of these prices are high on the back of currency movements. Should sterling strengthen its likely UK retailers would gain the whip hand again and be sure to put increased pressure on prices. 

The cull trade is of course largely isolated from the multiple retailers, but no doubt even the major ewe slaughterers would be grateful for a shift in sterling to help them out a bit. All we can hope is that supplies on the Continent and from New Zealand remain as tight as they are currently.