More proof of a lamb price collapse already well under way emerged in Scotland where processors were reported paying down to 130p deadweight for lambs, little more than half the value of new season stock in England a couple of months ago. Trade sentiment in England is not quite as bleak as the Scottish price might suggest. Gossip in London is of the autumn supply flush of 17-20kg carcases being just about tolerable if a storage aid scheme materialises and nothing out of ordinary happens in imported sheepmeat. Although the export ban has knocked out a crucial element of demand, the clean sheep kill in the current quarter is predicted to total only about 3.7m head against 4.5m a year ago, and a similar drop to under 4m from 4.7m is projected for October-December [MLC]. But the reduced kill and absorption of tonnage into storage will leave a million or more very light lambs without buyers. Supermarket buyers emphasise they must try to generate new demand rather than alienate customers by offering very small, expensive cuts as apparent substitutes for familiar lamb. {{M/E MEAT }}

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