Carryover cleared? Better weather has brought huge numbers of lambs into the auction rings, but traders are still squabbling over whether the hogget carryover has been cleared. At Inverurie, a record 10,000 head went through ANM's huge Thainstone market on March 25 and chief executive Brian Pack said the high incidence of under-finished stock among them supported his belief "producers are nervous" and not holding back supplies in the hope of better prices. MLC economists, relying on MAFF census data, have long predicted a late season price shakeout based on the assumption of a heavy carryover, not accounted for so far by slaughterings which remain lower than in early 1998. But Pack, after talking to local producers and watching ringside buyers, thinks differently: "If people are in Inverurie wanting hoggets to kill in Wales, you can be sure stock are scarce." Prices for hoggets of respectable quality are certainly well above the levels of 12 months ago, after faltering in early March. The best 1998-born stock easily make 100p/kg, though producers complain even this has not covered wintering costs. {{MEAT }}

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