Collapse looms for store lambs

4 September 1998

Collapse looms for store lambs

A WHOLESALE collapse in store lamb prices is on the cards, says Scottish NFU vice-president, Jim Walker.

He sold Blackface ewe lambs to £44 at Thornhill last Saturday, down £15 on the year. The average price across the 4000 head fell the same amount to £30. Wedder lambs (1260) fared worse in percentage terms, down £15 to average £20.

Tomorrow (Saturday) sees the second sale of Scotch Mule ewe lambs at the same venue and Mr Walker is fearful of the outcome. "Prices at the first sale were reasonable but that was for well-grown lambs fit to go to the tup. This week it will be lambs to keep and sell as gimmers next year and breeders are expecting a hammering.

"It is hard to see any sort of market for the small Blackface hill lambs still to come forward," he added, his fears confirmed on Monday at Stirling, where lightweight finished lambs struggled to make 65p/kg.

Blackface ewe lambs at Dalmally last weekend fared no better than at Thornhill and the gimmer trade has been equally hard hit, with 2000 withdrawn unsold last week at Lanark, where prices were down 30% on the year for both Texel and greyface crosses.

"There is a complete lack of confidence in the industry. Current prices for store cattle and sheep and feed barley at £50/t mean feeders should be queuing up for the stock. But they have no cash and no confidence and trade prospects for the rest of the season are extremely gloomy," said Mr Walker. &#42

A flashback to one of the Ingham sheep auctions in Suffolk two years ago, where Andy Turner enjoys an icecream. But many of the visitors to this years sales have found little to smile about, with a lack of confidence in the industry. The weather has hardly been ideal for icecreams, either.

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