Trade in the sheep rings at auction marts has remained ‘quite stable’ in the run up to Brexit, with little impact being felt on the markets so far.
While currency fluctuations have had some impact on values of prime lambs, buyers were still looking to purchase and fill orders, according to Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA) executive secretary Chris Dodds.
He said: “The question will come on November 1, if we do leave, of whether the EU will charge the full tariff and what percentage of the market will simply pay additional money.”
The store trade has also been good.
“Until this recent weather, there has been a degree of people saying ‘well, I have grass, I will buy store lambs to graze it’,” he said.
“There are some saying they have bought stores because they believe trade will be alright and there are some who have bought because that is their business model. There are some who have not bought many.”
At Thainstone, auctioneer Rory Livesey reported an increase in store lambs coming forward for sale.
He said: “The market is a bit cautious at the moment and we are seeing more store lamb producers looking to sell their stock ahead of the impending Brexit date.”
But he added with a lot of lamb finishers in Aberdeenshire, there was a ‘large and active’ ringside of buyers competing for stock.
Mr Dodds credited the stable price to the competition at the auction ring, saying without the live rings Brexit would already have had an impact as farmers were reliant on the offers made by a few buyers.
He said: “When the live ring is there it dampens scaremongers, because there are other people prepared to bid.”
Brexit was at the back of the minds of buyers and sellers, with businesses needing a decision to be made. But he added marts were ‘reasonably optimistic’.
He said: “It has not been the best trade we have ever seen, but it has been stable and reasonably good.
“There are still people who want to buy and intend to maintain their flock to continue into the future.”