Sheep prices have sprung back significantly over the past week following a tough fortnight which caused them to slump by as much as £40 per head.

This has provided a welcome boost to Scotland’s sheep breeders and feeders ahead of the Easter weekend in isolation – it seems that the traditional lamb roast is back on the menu.

It has been a challenging fortnight for markets, abattoirs and sheep farmers after having to cope with reduced demand for prime sheep, however, prices have improved significantly, increasing by up to 40p per kg in some cases.

Archie Hamilton, head sheep auctioneer at Lawrie and Symington’s Lanark centre, commented: "With the build up of Easter this weekend, the demand has risen again. Our centre sold 5000 hoggs this week, compared to 500 the week before. Don't get me wrong, demand will ease up after the weekend, but it is still a positivity from the previous fortnight.

"If everyone continues to buy sensibly and regularly, trade will remain reasonable – it will just depend on when people can get back to some form of normality – like previously stated, we just need to take each day as it comes.

"Ewe trade has also firmed up as there is a lot fewer numbers about, people have started looking for Ramadan later in the month," he said.

James Little, sheep auctioneer for Harrison and Hetherington, added: "The sheep trade has definitely taken a lift this week, with a bit of Easter trade on the horizon after a lack of numbers going into the retailers and wholesalers over the past fortnight.

Trade is pretty volatile, the longevity of it will depend a lot on the numbers available in the coming weeks," said Mr Little.

NFU Scotland president, Andrew McCornick, added: “It remains a testament to the hard work of many in the food chain that we have been able to keep markets, abattoirs, processors and distribution going throughout the crisis, to ensure that our butchers, local stores and supermarkets can all have fresh, tasty Scotch lamb on offer this Easter.

“Despite the worrying drop in sheep prices and market disruption a fortnight ago, that period of readjustment saw a positive rebound in the price of lamb going through Scottish marts last week, demonstrating a healthy demand in light of the impact of COVID-19.

“That lift appears to have been sustained this week and we are hopeful that forthcoming Easter celebrations, and the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan in a few weeks will keep the momentum going throughout an uncertain time.

“Additionally, the increase in cooking hearty meals from scratch in households across the country could result in an increased understanding of the versatility and flavour of Scotch lamb.”


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