Trade Talk from Daniel Jones of Herbert R Thomas

12th July 2019

The numbers of spring lambs are starting to increase, those presented are well finished, having taken advantage of the kind weather. A steady but respectable trade on spring lambs continued last week (18 th June) topping at 215/kg with an average of 201p/kg.

We have not seen the influx of smaller lambs coming to forward as reported at some markets, with the lowest weight last week being 35kg. We can place these lighter lambs, which perhaps will be seen as well sold at the current price when looking back in a few weeks.

Ewe trade took a slight dip the week of the 4 th June, coinciding with the end of Ramadan, however has since lifted and sustained a sharp trade. Muslim Festivals are having an increasing impact on UK sheep trade and we would expect a strong UK and export demand for lambs, particularly ram lambs, for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha known as the 'Feast of the Sacrifice' beginning Sunday 11 th August, ending Thursday 15 th August. However, given the time of year be aware that a saturated market could outweigh demand.

With spring lambs averaging just over 200p/kg and the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the UK’s potential divorce from the EU in October, attentions draw to the upcoming breeding sales. Are buyers going to have the confidence to invest? Buyers were encouraged to buy stock at last year’s sales whilst the trade was back on the year.

Key business decisions will need to be made in the coming years, particularly for livestock producers, which is not an easy task considering the prolonged uncertainty. Wales is still deciding on the future of BPS, with an ambition to be operating a new Land Management Programme by 2025.