Lamb buy-up scheme not enough

10 August 2001

Lamb buy-up scheme ‘not enough’

By Isabel Davies

SHEEP industry representatives fear the governments buy-up scheme for lamb will only give limited help to cash-strapped light-lamb producers.

The government is extending the foot-and-mouth livestock welfare disposal scheme to deal with 1.3 million unmarketable light lambs.

It is thought lambs will be dealt with in a separate stream from other animals destined for the disposal scheme, and the service will start early in September.

John Thorley, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, suggested that the scheme failed to address marketing issues.

It ignored the fact that farmers had developed a legitimate market for ultra light lamb, which was now closed to them because of export restrictions, he said.

Limiting payments to 10 a head for animals under 30kg forced farmers to keep animals until they could get the 70p/kg liveweight for heavier stock, he said.

“This will create a problem on-farm and create a problem for the system employed to take them away from the farm,” he said.

NFU president, Ben Gill, said he hoped the sheep market would be better balanced than many people expected.

But he added: “I am afraid that many lighter lambs may need to enter the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme.”

Arwyn Owen, policy director for the Farmers Union of Wales, said: “We welcome this announcement in principle.

“But if the price offered to farmers is as low as 10 per head, then this scheme will not address the financial plight of Welsh farmers.”


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