Old-season lamb takes a dive

Tuesday, 13 January, 1998

By FWi staff

LAMB prices have dropped as auctions come to grips with entries of overfat stock.

Average old-season lamb prices yesterday (Monday, 12 January) were 5p down on the week to 85.10p/kg, according to the Meat & Livestock Commission. The fall means farmers get £1.76 less for an animal weighing 36kg.

Until the middle of last week, lamb prices since the New Year had appeared to be reasonable – especially given widespread rumours that a glut of lambs was about to come onto the market.

Farmers at Tenbury market last Thursday (8 January) saw medium weight old-season lambs sell for an average of 92.8p/kg.

But all that soon changed. Auctioneers say the cost of implementing new regulations requiring the removal of spinal cord from sheep carcasses has depressed prices.

At Skipton market yesterday, standard-quality hoggets made an average of only 85.0p/kg. Medium quality hoggets made little more at 87.9p/kg.

At Bakewell, a large entry of 1346 fat hoggets made an average price of 88p/kg. The days highest price of 117.5p/kg, left auctioneers Bagshaws blushingly admitting that their market “compared favourably with other outlets.”

Prices were also down at Exeter where the top price for lighter lambs was only 96.59p/kg.

In Wales, lamb sales were described as “difficult”. Buyers at Ludlow soon realised that prices were low in other parts of the country and became reluctant to bid, according to auctioneers McCartneys.

Light hoggets made an average of 85.4p/kg and standard hoggets averaged 91.2p/kg.

All auctioneers continue to report lower prices for overfat lambs and the Meat & Livestock Commission warns that returns are likely to get worse before they get better.

Sheep marketings over the next three months are expected to be 20% above the same period last year, according to MLC figures.

  • Click here for Finished lambs Trends and Prices

  • Click here for October-December 1997 sheep and lamb reports

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