Sheep values facing threat of Irish flood

6 March 1998

Sheep values facing threat of Irish flood

FEARS have been raised of a flood of sheep coming across the water, with the Irish ewe retention period ending nearly a month earlier than the British one.

Extra marketings could further depress slaughter and breeding stock values in this gap between Apr 20 and May 15.

NFU livestock chairman, David Williams, said the Irish Farmers Association told him on Feb 20 that there were 120,000 more hoggets in Ireland than at the same time last year.

There was better news. Between Jan 1 and the end of last week British hogget sales were 630,000 head up on the same period last year, he reckoned. And that would have more than cleared the 570,000 extra which MLC reckons were in the system on Jan 1 compared with 12 months earlier.

David Croston, MLCs sheep strategy manager, said the 28% fall in UK sheepmeat exports to France over the past two years had been arrested in January and February.

Speaking at the Paris Agricultural Show earlier this week, he said shipments were 3% up despite the strong £, but British Meat and exporters must react to French developments on traceability and labelling.

"The new SRM rules will not be in place on Apr 1, but unless our government makes concessions, the £25m a year ewe trade with France will continue to be hard hit. Buyers will not take split carcasses, and the cost of shipping live ewes on the dedicated ferry is six times that of the old roll-on-roll-off ferries." &#42

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