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South Molton Market, like most other centres around the country, has seen a welcome upturn in sheep trade over the past month. Numbers continue to remain strong every Thursday with a typical entry of 500-600 cull ewes and 1000-1200 prime lambs/hoggs. Cull ewe trade continues to improve with the good, well-fleshed Suffolk ewes now making £95-£110 and similar mule ewes making £70-£80 per head, while hogg trade improves as numbers tail off.
As we move further into May we are beginning to see larger numbers of new season lambs coming forward – 650 last week. Numbers are slightly behind last year however as producers report that lambs have been slow to get up to weight and many lambed slightly later than previous years. The shorter early numbers has ensured that liveweight prices remain around the £2.20 per kilo mark, with many lambs currently in the £92-£98 bracket.
This spring, Stags took over the running of Tavistock Livestock Centre on the western fringe of Dartmoor. The centre is a well renowned sale centre for quality store cattle – mainly suckler-bred – and store sheep. Numbers have been steady with many farms continuing to be affected by TB, but those that have made the ringside have seen prices well in excess of vendor expectations.
Our unique collection centre in Honiton pays the farmer on a live weight basis, with prices being sent out via text over the weekend for a Monday collection. Prior to foot and mouth disease in 2001, Honiton was a traditional livestock market but has since become an auctioneer-run collection centre. Stock throughput numbers continue to remain high, with more than 1,500 new season lambs and 500 hoggs being sold to five different abattoirs last week alone.