By Tim Relf
NEW-season lambs are arriving for sale in markets in ever-greater numbers, and will soon be out-selling hoggets.
But the progress of February- and March-born animals is likely to be hit by recent poor weather. With big lamb losses in the hills and uplands possible, the number on offer later in the season could also be less than in 1997, warns Duncan Sinclair of the Meat and Livestock Commission.
National Sheep Association chief executive John Thorley says: “Ive heard some stories of very big losses. It varies greatly from place to place, but while the number born may have been good, the losses have since been high.”
Prices, meanwhile, are barely covering costs of production. Average auction prices on Monday were 126p/kg, down 4p on the week. “People that are buying new-season lamb want a good-quality product – its time they started paying for it,” says Mr Thorley.
For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 1-7 May, 1998