Coronavirus restrictions are having a damaging impact on the sheep trade with prices back by almost a third, warns the National Sheep Association (NSA).
It says prices are falling due to a collapse in the restaurant and catering trade and a decline in exports.
“The shutdown is having a really damaging impact on the sheep trade now,” said NSA chief executive, Phil Stocker.
“The trade collapsed at the start of this week with prices down by £1 per kg liveweight. On a 45kg lamb that’s between £40 and £50 a head less, on a value that was maybe just over the £100 mark.”
He said the association had made government aware of the issue.
“While this has all been brought about by Covid -19 there couldn’t be a starker warning of the impact of sudden disruption to our export markets and it raises the spectre of Brexit and the dangers that lie at the end of this year’s transition period,” added Mr Stocker.
The impact on trade in Scotland has been evident.
Dingwall and Highland Marts experienced a drop in average prices for old season lambs on Tuesday – down 28% on last week’s sale to 177p per kg.
The picture was similar at Caledonian Marts in Stirling on Tuesday where prime hogg prices were back 29% to 171.1p per kg.
Average old season lamb prices at Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, on Thursday were back 27% on the week to 164.5p per kg.
Prime hogg prices at United Auctions in Stirling were also back 28% on Thursday to average 170.46p per kg.