CUMBRIAN sheep farmers are facing the news that the value of their sheep fleece may be down by 50 per cent.

In some cases many farmers will be faced with a bill from their shearing contractor but no means to pay it, which has led to the National Sheep Association (NSA) saying it is disappointed to see the impact of Covid-19 on wool prices.

Chief Executive Phil Stocker said: “It’s not fully clear how the reduced value of the remainder of the 2019/20 clip will affect the overall value of a farmers wool delivered last year, but it would be easy to assume total fleece values might be down by 50 per cent.

“Cash flows will be affected, and many farmers will be faced with a bill from their shearing contractors but with no income to offset that.

“Although there are plenty of sheep farmers who do get real value from their wool most will at least expect it to cover shearing and wool handling costs.

“A fall of 50 per cent of total value would, for most, mean total income not clearing costs.

“A lot of work has gone into increasing demand and values for wool and this will set things back.

“We are disappointed that British Wool, being treated as a Government Arm’s Length Body, has reportedly been unable to access the Governments Covid-19 support schemes and this will have had a big bearing on BW's decisions.”