Lamb price lift, but not for long

By FW reporters

LAMB prices edged up on Monday (22 June), but changes from now on are likely to be down rather than up. Mondays average in England and Wales was just under 118p/kg lw, a rise of 1.34p on the week.

“A bit harder work,” is how auctioneer Rob Meadmore described the job of selling lambs at Penybont on Tuesday. Once values start to drop they usually continue to do so, says Mr Meadmore. But farmers should avoid rushing stock to sale because buyers are sharply discounting over-lean animals, he warns.

“Present as much meat as you possibly can, and if you are in any doubt about a lamb, leave it at home,” he says. “One or two bad ones can spoil the whole pen. Make sure you are taking the right goods to the market.”

Anything of 35kg lw or heavier, provided it is sufficiently covered, will sell well, says Mr Meadmore. “But there are plenty coming forward at 40kg with not enough flesh.”

According to auctioneer Jim Large at Truro, prices have been buoyant because, nationwide, lambs have been in short supply.

“Bad weather in April, particularly up-country, affected the late-born ones,” he says. “They had a bad start.”

West Country farmer Jeremy Hosking is reasonably pleased with the season. “The lambing percentage was well up and the feed cost was well down,” he says.

Lambs sold from his farm two weeks ago made 275p/kg dw, grossing just over £48 after deductions. He, too, reckons prices will fall. “But I do not think that it will be any worse than last year,” he adds.

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