Sheep markets braced for new truck strike

By FWi staff

SHEEP markets braced themselves for another week of uncertain prices for export-type sheep with the resumption of protests by truckers in France.

Early markets this week reported little disruption, although many believed the impact of the lorry drivers strike may take several days to filter through.

“No change here,” said Glandon Lewis at Welshpool market.

Any effect could be cushioned by tighter lamb numbers with many centres reporting a marked fall in entries of hoggets.

“The bigger entries are drying up and we managed to achieve an average close to the SQQ of 95p/kg this week,” says Simon Draper of Rugby mart.

However, he warned producers to monitor hoggets progress to ensure as many as possible kept within the main export weight bands.

“Some are doing very well on roots and with this mild weather will be fitter than people think.

“If lambs get too big, those at 50kg liveweight will probably by destined for cutting plants rather than exported as carcasses, and are back at 90p/kg.”

In contrast, buyers at Oswestry were keen for heavier sorts for export, pushing tup lambs to over 50 a head for the first time, said auctioneer John Brereton.

The export trade continues to be a significant player in underpinning the firm lamb market, says MLC.

But this week (4 February) sees the second reading of a bill to ban live exports (currently 15% of overseas lamb trade) in the House of Commons.

That would be a detrimental step for many hill farmers, added Mr Brereton.

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