Bad news for sheep farmers

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Sheep farmers may be considering cutting back next year’s breeding stock by 40 per cent because of the drop in prices paid for their animals.

According to some reports, farmers receiving anything between £8 and £12 a kilo for meat are losing £29 for each lamb they sell. Yet shoppers are still paying from £8 to £12 a kilo for the meat.

To add to their woes, last year’s wet weather forced farmers to rely on feed rather than pasture and the cost of feed has soared due to poor harvests and other factors.

The drop in prices paid for lambs follows a number of years of stable and relatively high prices, encouraging farmers to expand flocks, and they are now expecting a bumper lambing season. At the same time, farmers are competing with cheaper, imported New Zealand lamb, and NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe confirms there is now a glut. British farmers may decide to cut back next year’s breeding stock as they attempt to balance the books.