By Neale McQuistin

The announcement of the Brexit deal on Christmas Eve took away the fear of future tariffs being imposed on the export of sheep meat to Europe. Increased confidence about the future combined with lambs being in short supply at yesterday’s livestock markets resulted in prices soaring by an average of 32 pence per kilo at Carlisle. The UK and many other European countries applying ever stricter lockdown measures also seems to drive up demand for what many regard as being a luxury food product. Yesterday was a good day to be selling prime lambs in the live market.

Market round-up.

Harrison & Hetherington Ltd sold 34 clean cattle, 19 cast cows, 1230 prime lambs and 278 cast sheep at St Boswells yesterday.

Nine prime bullocks sold to 242p/kg and averaged 231p (+7p), while 24 prime heifers peaked at 254p to average 224p (+7p). One young bull sold to 169p or £1760.

Cast cows sold to £1462 and 161p to average 140p (+14p).

Prime lambs sold to £115 and 288p/kg for Beltex lambs to average 222p (+27p) or £94 overall. Heavy cast ewes sold to a top of £127 for Texel ewes and averaged £88 (-£11), while light ewes peaked at £109 for Cheviots and averaged £77 (+£13).

The firm also sold four prime heifers at Carlisle yesterday which peaked at 200p/kg and levelled at 189p (-5p), while two beef-bred bullocks sold to 201p and levelled at 201p (+9p). Ten young beef-bred bulls peaked at 228p and averaged 208p (+9p), while seven dairy-bred young bulls sold to 199p and levelled at 177p (-10p).

In the rough ring 29 cast dairy cows sold to 134p to average 101p (+2p), while 12 cast beef cows peaked at 136p to average 127p (+9p). One cast bull sold to 88p/kg.

The 1894 prime lambs sold to £137 and 313p/kg to average 237p/kg (+32p).

In the cast sheep section 92 heavy ewes peaked at £148 for a Texel and averaged £107 (-£24), while four hill ewes were topped at £52 for a Swaledale and averaged £40 (-£39).

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1036 prime lambs and 209 cast sheep at Ayr yesterday. Numbers were well short of demand as the whole sale averaged 229p or £100 per head. Top price of the day was £120 for a pen of Beltex. Top price per kilo was for a pair of Beltex which were knocked down at 264p. Blackfaces were topped at £101 for a pen of 30.

The smaller than usual show of cast sheep also sold to an increased trade on the week. Top price of £150 was paid on three occasions for Texel ewes.