This years wet weather has caused higher lambing losses than usual and the AHDB’s forecast lamb rear rate has been revised to 3% down this season compared to 2017. This years lamb losses have caused high lamb prices which early lamb producers of 2018 will benefit from, UK supplies will be low as will imports.
This years awful weather consisting of particularly cold and rainy weeks has seen an increased mortality rate for this years early lambers. Reports have been compiled from farmers and fallen stock collectors.
Robinson Mitchell of nationwide deadstock collection has seen a huge increase in dead lambs and sheep for their collection service. Cumbria has experienced the highest losses with double the mortality rate of 2017.
The lambing losses are estimated at causing 600,000 fewer lambs for sale in 2018 this would have been higher if it hadn’t been balanced moderately by an increase in the national sheep flock. (According to AHDB)
Although EU farmgate prices have risen, the per tonne import value was less favourable for exporters from Australia and New Zealand.
Lamb prices stayed well ahead of 2017 on weekly prices up until March. Now due to increased lamb sales earlier in the year stocks are down with 57,338 live lambs sold at the beginning of April compared to 74,323 in the same week in 2017.
For those taking these figures as a sign of expansion opportunity, there is a lot more to take into the equation, such as the rise in amount of sheep feed cost also due to the longer, wetter and colder winter.
Some farmers equate a 20% increase in feed costs due to the extended winter period. There is also the factor that many sheep farmers are reliant on export trade which is flat currently.
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