By FWi staff
CULL ewe prices are in freefall, according to the latest Meat and Livestock Commission statistics.
Light ewes made an average price of only £24.33/head at MLC monitored markets in England and Wales, yesterday. Heavy ewes made little more at £27.80/head.
“Cull ewe prices have halved in the past three weeks,” said National Sheep Association chairman, David Raine.
Farmers blame new rules which mean all specified risk material (SRM) in British sheep must be removed after slaughter.
This has virtually killed off the market for mutton – much of which goes abroad. French buyers are reluctant to buy the British split carcasses and are sourcing instead from Spain and Ireland.
“The ability of the sheep sector to export is paramount, because we can only survive if we can export,” Mr Raine said.
The Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers is meeting this week to examine the impact of the new SRM rules and increased offal removal charges.
The British sheep industry will face a cost increase of £160 million this year because of the new regulations, said spokesman Peter Scott.