Lamb prices slide as Russian problems hit skin trade

By FW Reporters

LAMB prices have continued to tumble in the face of lower skin values.

Mondays average at auction was 93p/kg liveweight, as values failed to recover any of the previous weeks losses. That left them about 18% lower than 12 months ago.

Contributing to the drop, says the Meat and Livestock Commission, have been the economic problems in Russia, leaving buyers there paying about £2 apiece less for sheepskins.

But dont hang on to stock in the hope of higher prices, advises MLC chairman Don Curry. “Market lambs as soon as they are ready, and consider supplementary feeding to get them to the required specification” said Mr Curry.

“Lambs are late finishing this year due to bad weather and there has been a slaughtering shortfall of 100,000 so far. That means there are 10 percent more lambs still on farms compared with this time last year.”

According to the old saying, lambs need to be roasted twice – once when alive and once when they are dead. Sunshine, however, has been rare in parts of the country this year, leaving big numbers of lambs on-farm. But dont delay marketing in the hope of a price rise, warns the Meat and Livestock Commission

Auctioneer Robin Nettleton at Bridgnorth, Salop, says a few farmers are “corning” sheep, in a bid to improve quality. Some of the top-notch consignments are, he says, consistently making above the 100p/kg-mark. “Thats money. Thats a world apart from those which are just gradeable.”

It is a difficult one to call as to which way prices will go now, says Mr Nettleton. But many of those farmers who have already marketed this years animals are breathing a sigh of relief. “Im glad to have sold them early,” says Jeremy Hosking of Tresillian, Cornwall.

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