Trade Talk – Nick Woodmass, Longtown Market

2nd September 2019

As August closes, Cumbria and South Scotland are finally seeing a break in the weather, with many farmers desperately trying to take final cuts of silage, wheat and barley. Many of the crops are looking very wind and rain beaten but hopefully good crops can be salvaged with all farms being reliant on this for the long winter ahead.

Here at Longtown Mart, primestock numbers have seen good increases on the year with a significant increase in the numbers of prime sheep and cast ewes sold since the start of the current season. Much of this increase will be to do with the great spring we had when a plentiful supply of grass saw both ewes and their lambs thriving well. A further factor was the religious festival of EID moving forward until the early part of August, resulting in many cast ewes being sold during July to try and target this marketplace.  

The effect of the extra numbers of cast ewes being sold and removed from the marketplace may be a shortage of ewes in the coming weeks, especially strong lowland ewes. This should support the price, typically when we would see large numbers and fluctuation in prices.  Prime lambs have held up surprisingly well so far with well fleshed good quality lambs in demand.  Keep in touch with your auctioneer who can always advise you to your advantage.

As we move into September we look forward to busy sales of store & breeding sheep, with demand currently outstripping supply of store sheep.

Breeding sheep sales in the area have started well. Last year the drought and poor lambing caused many farmers to take a year out from buying breeding stock, but this year I am finding that with grass plentiful, there are more customers looking for good quality breeding stock.

In comparison to the prime cattle trade, store cattle continue to be a good trade, though not the trade of previous years.