The truth about Wales Average lamb prices now above £1 per live kilo even for old season medium weight stock are not high enough to silence all the complaints from Welsh producers who were hurt badly in the 1997-99 market depression. But their latest protest, refusing to allow military exercises on farmland in the Principality because the troops are fed imported sheepmeat, gives a false impression of the international trade. World market prices for lamb and mutton are fairly firm and moving against buyers, partly a response to relatively subdued output in Australia and New Zealand. Welsh farmers are paid far more per lamb than their Australasian and South American competitors (even without counting ewe subsidies) but need the higher returns because their much smaller flocks depress labour productivity. And processors in Wales say their cost structure makes frozen mutton supply uneconomic even at the lower ewe price, meaning they cannot match third country offers on defence catering contracts. {{MEAT }}

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