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Drought and lack of grass holds back breeding ewe sales

Breeding ewe sales have been dampened by the summer drought, with the lack of grass playing on buyers’ minds.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Drought holds back breeding ewe sales

Numbers coming to market had been similar to last year at Sedgemoor market, according to auctioneer Tom Mellor, but prices had been depressed.

 

Grass growth

 

“It is just a sign of the weather and lack of grass. It has put people on the back foot buyer wise,” he said.


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“It has dampened the trade throughout; they are about 10 to 15 per cent less.”

 

He added the market had not had the backdrop of a decent cull ewe trade to support the markets.

 

Welshpool auctioneer Tom Davies said the best quality breeding ewes were still selling well, but lower quality ewes were struggling.

 

He said the weather was on people’s mind and many buyers who would generally be in during the last two weeks had stayed away.

 

Breeds

 

“For us, Texels generally sell better. At the minute, Texels are down but Suffolks were flying,” he said.

 

“For anything which is very good quality there is still a good trade.”

 

Mr Davies added there had been little rain in the area and even where there had been more, in West Wales, grass was not growing as it should.

 

“Trade last year started at astronomical and came down. This year, it could be almost the opposite,” he said.

 

For store lambs, Mr Mellor said numbers were down on this time last year.

 

“Everybody is quite cautious. They are worried about what the trade may be,” he said.

 

“Where farmers are holding back, we could end up with a real glut when they do come to market. I can see more buyers coming, but the trade not lifting hugely as there are more coming to market.”

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