UK: Fears raised about falling lamb prices

Fears have been raised about falling lamb prices.

Confidence must be maintained within the sheep industry if it is to exploit the strong global demand for British lamb, farmers’ leaders say.

Sheep producers have endured a challenging year due to a poor summer and a longer finishing period, and are now seeing lamb prices fall markedly, says the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

But Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock board chairman, says these are short term factors and it is essential that processors and retailers take a long term view of the market and avoid sending out further negative signals to farmers.

“The national flock is showing signs of increasing after many years of declining numbers but producer confidence is finely balanced,” said Mr Sercombe.

“British lamb is in demand on both home and export markets but farmers need the confidence to invest in the future if we are to exploit these opportunities.

“The boom bust cycle of sheep pricing is not in the interests of the farmer, processor or retailer and sending out negative price signals is damaging to the entire sector. The poor summer and rising input costs are continuing to erode farm margins.”