Cull ewe flood fails to arrive

By FW reporters

THE widely expected flood of cull ewe marketings has failed to materialise following the mid-May end of the retention period.

At Longtown, Cumbria, auctioneer Neil McCleary says ewes have become scarcer, with fewer now on offer from Ireland. Irish farmers, whose retention period ended in mid-April, have already “cleared out” surplus stock, he says.

Last Thursdays 3000-head entry at Longtown marked a drop of 1500 on the previous week. The day saw Suffolk sheep make between £36 and £40, with mules at £31 to £33 and horned ewes at £21 to £23.

“Thats about £10/head less than last year – in common with lambs and hoggets,” says Mr McCleary.

The entry is unlikely to rise much for a few weeks, until farmers wean lambs and clear out their ewes, he adds.

David Willars, auctioneer at Melton Mowbray, Leics, has also seen fewer ewes on offer at recent sales. The average price at Melton last Tuesday was just under £29.

At Taunton, Somerset, auctioneer Michael Powell says marketings rose after the retention period ended, but have since fallen. He adds that some farmers have been too busy with other jobs to sell sheep. “It was all-systems go on silaging.”

Last Saturday, 1400 ewes averaged £27 at Taunton.

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