As I write this, we are busy preparing for our annual gimmer lamb sales at Junction 36 and Lancaster.
The trade is looking much better than it did at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic that saw a sharp drop in
the first week in prime sheep prices.
When the pandemic first hit, it looked as if we were going to have a gloomy summer and the future of the back end sales was in doubt but, thanks to the hard work of Chris Dodds and the LAA, auction marts have managed to remain open.
Consequently, the strength of selling through the live ring ensured primestock sold to buoyant trade in spring which has continued throughout summer, with many prime lamb market averages being 30-50p/kg up on the
same week last year.
There continues to be a strong demand for heavyweight spring lambs and buyers continue to pay a premium for well-finished lambs as the market demand remains strong.
This has had a positive impact across the sheep industry, reflecting in more demand in the store and breeding sheep rings.
Markets nationwide have seen large numbers of store lambs forward earlier in the season than normal, with our figures showing double the numbers sold to date than the previous year.
Trade has seen market averages £12-£18 up on the year, reflecting on the buoyant prime lamb trade throughout summer.
Most of the first gimmer shearling and ewe sales have now been held across the country, which has seen a large increase in demand as there were fewer sheep on the market, with vendors taking advantage of the strong cull trade for sheep through summer and strong hogg trade in spring which saw some gimmer hoggs sold prime.
Market averages for gimmer shearlings and ewes have been between £15-£25 up on the year. This has reflected positively, with reports from the early gimmer lamb sales showing a strong increase in market averages.
There is an old saying that when breeding females are dear, breeding rams are cheaper and vice versa depending on the year.
However, this year has seen rams sell to strong trade as many look to improve the quality of lamb they produce, with buyers looking to secure powerful good conformation rams.
As we slowly start returning to normality, we request people visiting the market to abide by the rules and
regulations put in place, as these are here to ensure markets remain open and a safe place to do business.
The coming months will be interesting for the sheep industry but we hope the confidence in trade continues
with plenty of grass demand set to continue for breeding sheep and store lambs.
We hope everyone keeps safe and well and look forward seeing you soon.
Ian Atkinson is an auctioneer at North West Auctions. Call 07766 521 472 or email [email protected]