Welcome to the AHDB Beef & Lamb Market news section.

The aim of the Market news section is to share market information and provide greater insight and analysis on market developments and industry issues in the beef and sheep meat sector.

Diverging trends in lamb markets

Liveweight lamb prices have fallen in the latest week as prices begin to come back from the recent highs which have been recorded at GB auction markets. In the week ended 21 June, the GB NSL SQQ fell by 12p compared to the previous week, leaving the measure at 225.5p/kg. Despite this weekly decrease, the SQQ remains over 37p above the corresponding week in 2016,…

Easter demand increases imports

In April, total imports of sheep meat into the UK were ahead by 13% year on year, with the increase in demand being driven by the Easter period. Total volumes of sheep meat coming into the UK amounted to 10,600 tonnes in April, the first month in 2017 when imports have been higher than last year. The main driver is the timing of Easter, which…

French beef import demand still falling

Imports of beef into France, the majority of which consists of cow beef, have fallen further in the first four months of 2017. However the rate of decline, of 4%, has slowed down in this key EU cow beef market. In the first four months of 2016 it was 10% and 6% in the first quarter of 2015. In 2017 though French cow beef production…

Cattle prices hot up

The rallying deadweight prime cattle market continued its trend again into the week ending 17 June, with price gains seen widely across all categories. Shortages of cattle are being reported as few grass finished stock are coming forward while numbers of yarded animals are in decline. R4L Steers rose 4.4p on the week to 374.3p/kg. This price is now 39p higher than the same week…

EU heavy lamb market take off

The EU heavy lamb market, including in the UK, has moved up sharply in recent weeks with shortages of new season’s lambs coinciding with stronger demand. Ramadan, which started on 26 May, with the festival of Eid al Fitr on June 25 moves forward 10 days each year. This year it thus coincides with the time when the supply of lambs is especially tight in…

Providing what your buyer wants…

Emma Thompson, Principal Consultant with agrifood consultants, Promar International, says there is a significant opportunity to improve returns from beef and sheep by forming stronger relationships with the customer and that grasping this opportunity will underpin future sector competitiveness. Although there is no formal published data, it is estimated based on feedback from industry sources, that in England and Wales, as many as 40% of…

Cattle throughput picking up in May; sheep remained plentiful

Defra figures show that 76,300 tonnes of beef and veal was produced in the UK in May, an increase of 5,200 tonnes over the previous month and 4% higher than in May last year. This takes the year to date total production to 372,100 tonnes, which is 1% higher than at the same point in 2016. Prime cattle slaughterings amounted to 172,900 in May, which…

Sheep skin market still on the slide

The value of sheep skins may not be the initial factor that producers think about when marketing their lambs, but alongside domestic demand, currency and production for the meat itself it still plays an important role in the UK sheep industry. Positivity in the lamb meat market is normally reflected in lamb prices and abattoirs can add value to the sheep sector by maximising the…

Hereford calves proving popular at auction

The auction markets of England and Wales appear to have been doing a healthy trade in store animals so far in this historic year, the 200th anniversary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association. Trade in rearing calves has also been positive, particularly for native bred cattle. In the year to the end of March, nearly 3,200 Hereford crossed rearing calves under three weeks old were traded…

Increase in numbers puts pressure on lamb prices

As the number of lambs coming through GB auction markets have started to increase, prices have taken a downwards turn. In the week ended 14 June, the GB NSL SQQ decreased by nearly 9p on the week, taking the measure to 237.7p/kg. Despite this drop, prices are continuing to run well above those recorded last year, currently by an additional 54p. This has further increased…

Contrast developments in EU beef demand

Consumer demand for beef has shown contrasting trends in major consuming countries of the EU so far this year. Household purchases have been doing well in Germany, the UK and Spain but not in France and Italy. Retail beef price inflation remains negligible in key consuming countries. Household panel data for Germany indicates that volume purchases in January-April were up by as much as 9%…

Cattle price rally continues and for cows in particular

The price trend of recent weeks has continued into the week ending 10 June, with most deadweight categories recording price rises again. Steers meeting R4L specification rose by 0.4p in the week taking the measure to 369.9p/kg, now 36.6p above where it was in the same week in 2016. Prices for R4L heifers too increased, to 371.5p/kg although young bulls meeting the same specification were…