"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

UK and Irish lamb farmers enjoying spring bonanza as French buyers enjoy sterling weakness

The persisting drought in New Zealand's has cut lamb production to 31.4 million animals this year, 7.6 % less than a year earlier and 1 million fewer than the Meat & Wool forecast in February this year.

Australia is now running its smallest flock since 1924, at 86.3 million. In Western Australia sheep numbers have fallen from about 26 million in June 2005 to about 18 million s producers face higher feed costs and continually sliding wool prices.

Closer at home farmers are having a spring time bonanza. In Ireland 39 Kg spring lambs are making €95 a head and factories have been contracting for lamb at a record breaking €5.10/kg. In the UK the Farmers Weekly Index shows finished lambs have risen from £2.12 /Kg to £2.87 /Kg last week.

This seasonal price rise, boosted by higher feed costs has now been affected by another factor in the UK.

Yesterday at Hall's Livestock Market in Shrewsbury a 3 tier sheep container from Nantes hauled away sheep for France which had been bought at up to £80 a head. Due to restrictions because of Blue Tongue disease in France and the Benelux countries , lamb production has been dramatically reduced.Top price for the day for finished Hoggets was £83 (148.2p/kg) for 56kg Hoggets presented Messrs CJ & MJ Davies & Son, Blackhurst Farm.

Of particular interest to the French buyers were sales on behalf of the British Charollais Sheep Society with peak trade 236.8p/kg (£90) for 38kg lambs presented by Messrs HJ & JR Draper, Ensdon House, which were also the top price per head.

Cheerful sons of toil with beaming faces were seen waving wedges of moolah and doing a jig as they happily saw their lambs driven off to land (eventually) on Parisian dinner plates.

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