Prime lambs on the Carlisle market in demand, increasing prices in the face of tight supply



Via Neale McQuistin

The Christmas Eve announcement of the Brexit agreement has eased concerns of potential tariffs on shipments of sheepmeat to Europe. Increased faith in the future, combined with tight supplies of lamb at yesterday’s livestock markets, led to a price increase in Carlisle of an average of 32 pence per kilo. The fact that increasingly strict lockdown measures are being implemented by the UK and many other European countries also appears to be boosting demand for the commodity, which is considered by many to be a luxury food. Yesterday was a good day for live market sales of prime lamb.

Description of the market.

At St Boswells yesterday, Harrison & Hetherington Ltd sold 34 clean sheep, 19 beef cows, 1230 prime lambs and 278 fattening ewes.

At 242p/kg and averaged 231p (+7p), nine prime steers sold, while 24 prime heifers topped 254p and averaged 224p (+7p). A young bull sold for 1760 pounds or 169 pence.

For £ 1462 and 161p, cast cows sold and averaged 140p (+14p).

For Beltex lambs, averaging 222p (+27p) or a total of £ 94, the first lambs sold for £ 115 and 288p/kg. For Texel ewes, heavy ewes sold at a peak price of £ 127 and averaged £ 88 (-£ 11), while for Cheviots, medium ewes sold at a top price of £ 109 and averaged £ 77 (+£ 13).

The company also sold four prime heifers yesterday at Carlisle, peaking at 200p/kg and settling at 189p (-5p), while two bulls of beef cattle sold at 201p and settled at 201p (+9p). Ten young beef bulls peaked at 228 pence and averaged 208 pence (+9 pence), with seven young milk bulls selling at 199 pence and settling at 177 pence (-10 pence).

29 caste dairy cows were sold at 134 pence in the rough ring and averaged 101 pence (+2 pence), while 12 caste beef cows were sold at 136 pence and averaged 127 pence (+9 pence). It sold a bred bull for 88 pence/kg.

For £ 137 and 313 pence/kg, the 1894 prime lambs sold and weighed 237 pence/kg (+32 pence).

In sheep, a peak price of £ 148 and an average of £ 107 (-£ 24) was achieved by 92 heavy ewes from Texel, while four mountain ewes from Swaledale hit a top price of £ 52 and an average price of £ 40 (-£ 39).

Yesterday, in Ayr, Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1036 prime lambs and 209 cast ewes. As the average for the entire sale was 229 pence, or £ 100 each, the number of lambs was far below demand. For a pen from Beltex, the best price of the day was 120 pounds. For a Beltex pair, which was knocked down at £ 264, the highest price per kilo was reached. For a pen of 30 heads, Blackfaces reached a peak price of £101.

This week, the lower than normal display of cast sheep has also been sold to a larger trade. The top price of £ 150 for Texel sheep has been paid three times.


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