By FWi staff
SHEEP producer Richard Howells is worried. Like many farmers, he fears that sheep-quota prices have soared so much they will soon become unaffordable.
Farmers across England and Wales this year must part with record amounts to buy the quota which allows them to keep sheep.
Quota in the Less-Favoured Areas (LFA) of Wales costs £28 per sheep to buy outright, or £15/head to lease on an annual basis.
Each buyer bought enough quota for an average of 200 sheep, compared with only 50 last month, and prices responded to the demand, according to auctioneers Howkins and Harrison.
Jenny Lindley of agents Charles Holt Consultancy said: “People want quota and so will pay for it.”
But farmers calculating how much premium they will receive should pencil in at least £18/head, said Paul Williamson, of Barber and Son, Whitchurch, Shropshire.
“Its a guaranteed income,” he added.
“The main reason that prices are so high this year is that farmers have done their calculations and sheep are more beneficial than suckler cows.”