By FW reporters
ANYONE waiting for GB lowland sheep quota to be given away like it was this time last year is in for a big shock – the price has more than doubled.
From being readily available at about £1.50 to lease £5 to sell, prices have shot to £4 and £9 or more in the past 10 days.
Agent Duncan Clark, says the surge in demand is due to farmers keeping ewe lambs for breeding and so they can claim premium subsidies, rather than sell them on to the depressed prime market.
As the trading period deadline of 4 February draws near, extra demand had also come from dairy farmers looking to lift income by keeping sheep, says Mark Campbell of agents Greenslade Taylor Hunt.
Many lessees and buyers have held off hoping for a repeat of last years late-season give-away, says Mr Campbell. Lessors and sellers have also off-loaded early, fearing a repeat of last year.
Richard Hyde, of agents Sunderlands, describes the trade as “completely and utterly mad, driven largely by extra demand for ewe lambs.”
For this and other stories, see this weeks issue of Farmers Weekly, 23-29 January, 1998