SHEEP farmers are being advised to keep an eye on the exchange rate, because it will have a major effect on prices over the next few months.
Stephen Kirkup, who owns Stephen Kirkup Livestock in Rothbury, Northumberland, markets an average of 4,000 to 5,000 sheep direct from farms each week. He pointed out that the pound rallied slightly against the euro at the start of this week, after hitting its weakest level in 15 months last Friday.
Mr Kirkup said: “With the need for a boost in the lamb trade, the currency market is key to lamb prices over the next few months.
“A weak pound may not be good for the economy as a whole, but for the lamb trade it may create a much-needed improvement in price.”
He said that a weaker pound may also increase demand for British lamb in Europe.
It comes after research showed farmers are losing an average of £30 per lamb following last year’s bad weather, higher input prices and cheaper imports of New Zealand lamb. The NFU has labelled the situation as “the great lamb robbery”, with the price paid to farmers falling dramatically, compared to just a small decrease in the price paid by consumers in the shops.