Those finishing hoggs face hefty losses as a result of prices that are currently about £20 per head lower than this time last year.

A combination of factors are driving prices down. The value of lamb skins has halved to £4 each. In addition, the strong pound and lower demand from France, coupled with a reluctance by traders to offer credit to Spanish importers, has led to a tougher environment. Also, there are more hoggs in the system this year.

Market round-up

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Lawrie and Symington Ltd sold 24 prime heifers to a top of 236p per kg and an average of 215.2p (+7.6p on the week), while 21 prime, beef-bred bullocks peaked at 234p and levelled at 202.3p (-10.5p). Fifteen prime, B&W bullocks averaged 177p (+7.3p). In the rough ring, 41 beef cows averaged 148p, while 64 dairy cows levelled at 111p.

The firm also sold 1985 prime hoggs to a top of £88.20 per head and 200p per kg to average 141.6p (no change).

The 906 cast sheep forward saw ewes sell to £113.50 for Texels and £56.50 for Blackfaces with the overall average levelling at £55.67 (n/c).

Wallets Marts sold 1512 prime hoggs in Castle Douglas yesterday to a top of £75 and 192.3p to average 136.5p. There were 378 cast sheep forward that were topped by a Texel ewe at £100 and averaged £42.14 overall.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 28 prime heifers at Ayr yesterday to a top of 221p and an average of 210p, while 25 prime bullocks peaked at 227p and levelled at 197p. In the rough ring, 99 beef cows averaged 134.2p, while 182 dairy cows levelled at 109.3p.

The firm also sold 17 dairy cattle to a top of £2280 for a Holstein Friesian heifer and an average of £1808.

There were also 125 breeding cattle forward. 14 heifers with calves at foot averaged £1717.87, 51 in-calf heifers averaged £1089.60, and 53 in-calf cows averaged £791.