By FW reporters
SHEEP farmers are following their beef and pig counterparts into the trough of rock-bottom prices.
The latest collapse is in the value of gimmer and store lambs – the mainstay of many farmers in the hills and uplands.
As sale season kicked off in the north-west last week, Mule gimmer lambs were averaging £42-£43 apiece, down £30 on 12 months ago.
Chairman of the NFUs Welsh Council, Hugh Richards, says “the industrys lifeblood is haemorrhaging”.
His comments come after Welsh Mule yearling ewes averaged £60 at Welshpool last week, down 37% on last year. Not long before, Mountain ewes at a Llanwrst auction made £14, with some pens of small sorts not attracting a single bid.
John Thorley, of the National Sheep Association, calls the situation an “absolute disaster”. And the likely higher ewe premium will only go a little way to compensate.
“This is an ideal year to restock a breeding flock,” says Mr Thorley. “But that is no consolation for people who are sellers.”