Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Finished lamb prices have been strong all year, and this has been feeding through into store lamb prices. Good availability of grass has no doubt helped.
Defra’s English June survey results indicated the number of lambs on the ground under one year old was down by 1% at 7.7 million head. However, throughputs of new season store sheep at auction markets in England and Wales are 14% higher year on year so far; store numbers themselves are a very poor indicator of the overall size of the crop.
In the week ending 19 September, the average store price in England and Wales was £69.25/head. This average price will include a wide range of weights, breeds and level of finish. Nonetheless, it is around £16 higher than both the price a year ago and the five year average for the time of year.
Recent industry reports suggest demand for longer keep animals has been particularly in evidence at auction markets. Some of these lambs may not be finished and marketed until the New Year. This is despite the continuing uncertainty surrounding the UK EU trade negotiations, another round of which starts this week.
The vulnerability of the sheep sector to the withdrawal period ending in December with no trade deal is well documented, but for now, the store sheep market is shrugging off the risks.
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