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Fewer Lambs in England, Says Defra

21 September 2015

ENGLAND – Lamb numbers have taken a surprising fall, decreasing by 2.8 per cent to 7.7 million head, according to Defra’s most recent statistics.

Breeding sheep numbers remained almost unchanged. Overall sheep and lamb numbers decreased by 1.6 per cent from 15.4 million to 15.1 million with the female breeding flock remaining at 7.1 million.

The results suggest this year’s lamb crop was smaller than in 2014, according to analysts at AHDB Beef and Lamb.

This is despite favourable weather at tupping and lambing, although helpful seasonal conditions have been implicated by analysts as a possible reason for earlier lamb slaughterings ahead of the June 1 farm survey.

“The key figure within the June results is the number of lambs under the age of one year on farms as of June 1,” said an AHDB spokesperson. “This gives a good indication of the 2015 lamb crop size, as only a relatively small proportion of this season’s lambs will have been slaughtered by this point.

Trends highlighted by the survey are subject to change, the AHDB stressed. Low prices could mean further reductions in breeding flock numbers by the December survey.

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