A kind of normality Bidders for new season lambs at auction rings offer a comforting illusion of normality returning to the sheepmeat market, though the numbers are laughable as FMD controls still restrict stock movement and availability. The 76 British markets surveyed by the MLC in the week after Easter sold only about 1,700 of the new season animals and 38,000 old season stock (Standard Quality Quotation). In a full week two years ago SQQ auction tallies were about 100,000 head. However, the overall market including direct procurement by abattoirs has a more legitimately traditional feel. New season deadweight prices of 330p per kg and old season values dropping towards 200p are roughly the values that would have been predicted in the absence of FMD. Recent weekly kills have been similar to the slaughter rates of two years ago, when UK production was declining from its 1999 post-BSE peak of 16.9 million lambs. {{MEAT }}

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