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Seasonal Chair report

Chris Harrison

NEMSA Chairman

Just a brief report of the past few months. I must start by mentioning the weather. Has anyone ever known these unusual temperatures at this time of year? Grass is still growing, some plants are still flowering and our postman is still wearing his shorts! I dropped a few ewes off at a farm next door to Carlisle race course last week for wintering and they were put in a field that you could have taken a cut of silage from.  The grass was blowing in the wind! The ewes were in decent condition before they arrived, I have never known as much grass at home on Alston Moor as I’ve seen this back end, so does this mean there’s going to be loads of twins next Lambing time? Who knows, let’s wait and see, a lot can happen with the weather between now and then. It would just take a week of frost and a foot of snow and the grass will soon disappear!


The season for shows and sales for gimmer lambs has now finished. The usual regional and national agricultural shows took place again this year. A big thank you to everyone who helped to put these events together , the organisers, the committees, the exhibitors etc. The mule class’ at these events continue to attract lots of attention, the competition and the standardswere as high as ever. Well done to all concerned. As we move into the sale season, most marts were reporting, as we will probably hear later, that averages were probably £10-£20 down on 2021. NEMSA lambs averaging more than non-NEMSA lambs. Tupping lamb prices didn’t take as big as hit as the running lambs. Low rainfall and lack of grass in other parts of the UK were giving buyers difficult decisions to make. We had a feeling that this would be the case as news of drought conditions were continuing well into September and stocks of winter feed were being used on sheep as well as cattle. But the buyers headed north and it was good to see familiar faces around the ringside. I must also mention the auction marts, NEMSA branches, our local sponsor Eden Farm supplies and branch sponsors who held pre-sale shows, the quality of lambs on show were exceptional. All these events were recorded by Linda who must have travelled hundreds of miles to attend these events, pictures and results were usually uploaded onto social media the same day …thank you Linda, a good job really well done. Also thank you for the “NEMSATIMES,” an excellent brochure, some great articles and pictures.


Store lambs took a hit also but once again not as much as we expected. We were expecting a drop in trade due to the drought conditions and that doesn’t make life any easier with the cost of living rising rapidly, feed and fuel prices exceptionally high, inflation and interest rates rising plus the fact we’ve already received half of this years BPS, next year is going to be tough for everyone. There are three phrases that spring to mind in situations like this, the first is ….. the buck stops with us the 2nd is pass the buck…most retailers pass their costs onto us but who can we pass ours onto? We’re the last in the food chain so we have to take the hit. And the third phrase is …. Farming is the only industry that buys at retail, sells at wholesale and pays haulage both ways…. This is so true at this moment in time to our cost, But farmers are resilient and most of us will get through the looming recession…  I’ll end up quoting Jonathon Hodgson’s advertising slogan… You can’t beat a Mule!!

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