Lamb prices firmer after last weeks collapse

By FWi staff

LIVESTOCK markets for finished lamb appeared to be firmer today (Monday) after a week which saw prices plummet.

At Otley market, West Yorkshire, a smaller entry of lamb helped prices climb 4p to 91p/kg. The quality was similar to last week but 200 fewer lambs were entered for sale.

“This has pushed the price up,” said auctioneer Ben Atkinson. But he added that prices are likely to slide again if more lambs are entered in the next couple of weeks.

Farmers breathed a sigh of relief at Exeter, where prices inched past the psychological barrier of 100p/kg.

The increase in prices was welcomed followed last weeks nationwide drop of 12p/kg to 94.5p/kg. But many producers remain aware that last weeks 50% fall in store prices could be a portent of things to come in the finished lamb sector.

An estimated 19,000 wether lambs sold last week at the annual North Country Cheviot store sale in Lairg, Sutherland, averaged just £23.67 per head. Last years average was £41.67.

At the same sale, 8240 ewe lambs were sold at £31.70 per head, down from £45 last year. A total of about 2000 lambs went home unsold.

A similar scene was experienced around the country as prices declined by an average of 13%. So far this August prices have averaged at 100p/kg, but last week went down to 95p, said Sue Fisher of the Meat and Livestock Commission.

“We predict similar prices for September and October, but expect prices to come back in November and December” explained Ms Fisher.

Ms Fisher blamed the sudden price drop on recent increases in lamb marketings attributed to a wet July and the start of harvest. The fall in skin value, down £4 from £7, also pressured returns.

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