Store lamb prices hit by scramble for fodder
Traditional buyers opting to grow silage rather than finish lambs
The soaring demand for fodder among dairy farmers is having an impact on store lamb prices as traditional finishers are opting to grow silage for milk suppliers rather than finish lambs.
This is exacerbating problems in the store trade, with demand for lambs already being hit by the shortage of grass on farms across the east and southeast, and by fears that the introduction of electronic tagging from October 1 will cause further disruption.
John Brooks of the ICSA said there had been a marked fall-off in the level of demand for store lambs this summer.
He attributed this to the shortage of grass supplies in the east and southeast.
However, he said the decision by many drystock farmers to grow silage for neighbouring milk suppliers was also a factor.
Mr Brooks said he had heard of numerous cases where farmers who traditionally bought store lambs were cutting extra silage instead this autumn.
Mr Brooks said there was a potential crisis facing store lamb producers as a result of the drought and a shortage of buyers in the marts for stock.
"The shortage of grass will deter many of the traditional customers for store lambs.