A drop in prices paid for prime lambs has been blamed on a fluctuating exchange rate and firms reporting lower demands for meat.
Trade suffered across the country but thousands of lambs were nevertheless sold at marts in Yorkshire this last week.
Skipton Auction Mart’s weekly Monday sale brought an entry of 3,788 lambs which sold to an overall average of £70.12 per head, or 160.16p/kg, compared to £76.18 and 172.86p the previous show week.
Top end consignments sold for £90-plus, with Beltex pens from a trio of Bolton-by-Bowland sheep farmers contesting the leading prices. Nick Capstick topped at £99 and £97 per head, with Paul Simpson next best at £96, while Stephen Pickard chipped in with a £95 offering. Malham Moor’s Bill Logan also had a £94 pen.
When it came to the top by-weight performers, Richard Morphet, of Halton, Lancaster, led the way with a great run of Beltex lambs, heading the sale with three pens at 230.8p, 219.7p and 217.8p/kg.
Good Mule lambs also eased to 150-155p/kg, while a good horned lamb was 150p and lesser sorts 135p to 140p.
Following Monday’s weekly livestock sale at Wharfedale Farmers Auction Mart in Otley, auctioneer Ian Smith reported a decent show with something for everyone.
Mr Smith said: “Good lambs every bit as good to sell and trade were looking not too bad with an SSQ (Standard Quality Quotation) of 163.80p/kg which was similar to last week.”
Top price was achieved at 241p/kg from Kevin Marshall selling to J&K Summers for their family-run shop in Clayton, while the best price per head at £103 was recorded by John Croft of Beamsley, paid by Andrew Atkinson Livestock Ltd of Felliscliffe.
Bakewell Auction Mart reported “healthy” sheep figures.
Auctioneers said: “Another good show of 1,922 lambs with top figures of 219p and £97 per head. The SQQ average at 172 looks healthy, but it is always difficult to know at the start of the week.”
A primestock sale at North West Auctions in Lancaster on Tuesday attracted 1,303 prime lambs with the best results recorded by W S Burrow & Sons of Gibraltar Farm with 50kg Charollais selling at £90.50.
Top price per kilo for lambs was 223.7p/kg for a pen of Beltex scaling 38kg and consigned by J&D Chapman of Wray Farm.
A mart spokesman said: “Prime lambs were easier on the week, with the overall average finishing at 152.19p/kg.”
According to an analysis by AHDB Beef & Lamb market commentators: “Lamb prices have fallen in the past week despite a fall in the number of lambs coming to the market, as the pound has strengthened in the past week.
“In the week ended November 16, the GB SQQ at liveweight markets declined by 5p compared to the previous week.
“This left prices just 6p higher than the same week in 2015 following an increase seen at this time last year. This is likely to be due to lower demand and a strengthening in the value of the pound over the past week, as the number of lambs coming to markets has fallen in the past week.
“Declines were seen throughout the period, with the largest falls seen towards the end of the period, the GB SQQ on Wednesday was down by 5p at 157.9p/kg.”