Confident signals needed for lamb

Farming leaders are calling on the sheep industry to remain confident to exploit the global opportunity for British lamb.

Lamb prices are dropping, following a poor summer and longer finishing period, but the National Farmers’ Union livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said the problems were only short-term factors, and processors and retailers needed to take a longer-term look at the market and avoid sending negative signals to producers.

He said: “The national flock is showing signs of increasing after many years of declining numbers, but producer confidence is finely balanced. British lamb is in demand on both home and export markets, but farmers need the confidence to invest in the future if we are to exploit these opportunities.

“The boom-bust cycle of sheep pricing is not in the interests of the farmer, processor or retailer and sending out negative price signals is damaging to the entire sector. The poor summer and rising input costs are continuing to erode farm margins.”