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.

A briefing note on the withdrawal agreement

After months and months of negotiations, a draft withdrawal agreement between the EU and UK was published on Wednesday 14 November. The draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK's ‘divorce’ from the EU, over 585 pages. In addition, the EU and the UK published a joint political declaration on their future relationship, which sets out broad areas of future co-operation. The…

Irish sheep update – higher supply but lower exports

294.8 thousand sheep were slaughtered in Ireland in September, including lambs and adult sheep, a similar level to September last year according to data from the Central Statistics Office. This brings the year-to-date total to 2.37 million head, 2.6% higher than over the same period last year. Heavy snowfall in February and March disrupted the movement of finished sheep, tightening supplies of lambs for slaughter…

Heifer slaughterings drive increased UK beef production

UK beef and veal production during October was up 5.6% to total 85,900 tonnes compared with a year ago, according to data from Defra. This increase was driven by higher slaughterings of both prime animals and cows during the month, despite a slight decrease in carcase weights. Year-to-date production is now 765,000 tonnes, up 2.2% compared to 2017. Prime cattle slaughterings contributed significantly to the…

UK Beef trade dips in September

In September, UK exports of fresh/frozen beef declined by 10.3% on the year to 8,734 tonnes. This was driven by decreased exports to four of the five biggest UK export destinations. Exports to Ireland and the Netherlands were down by 3.3% and 18.5% respectively. Between them, these countries account for over half of UK beef exports, although it is likely that some beef shipped to…

Lamb prices gently rise in run up to Christmas

For the third week running, the lamb price has moved in a positive direction, following closely to the seasonal average for the time of year as prices lift in the run up to Christmas. In the week ending the 14 November, the GB liveweight SQQ gained slightly on the week, by just over a penny to average the week on 170.58p/kg. The price is similar…

Plentiful supplies continue to put cattle prices under pressure

In the most recent week deadweight cattle prices have recorded declines across the board. During the week ending 10 November the GB all prime average measure recorded a marginal decline on the week of 0.87p to stand at 360.98p/kg. With the most recent decline the measure is now behind year earlier levels, but remains higher than the five year average. The overall steer price declined…

EU beef quotas continue to be as popular as ever

Under EU regulations there are many different beef quotas. One of the key ones is the ‘EU 481 grain fed quota’, which is also known as the autonomous beef quota. Under this quota 45,000 tonnes of beef could be shipped in during the 2018/19 management year. Typically, the majority of the quota is utilised. During quarter three of 2018, 99.7% of the quarterly allowance of…

Use of maize in animal feed production increases

In total during quarter three of 2018 GB animal feed production totalled almost 3.5 million tonnes, up 4% year-on-year, according to the latest data from AHDB. This figure includes feed for poultry (including integrated poultry units) as well as feed for pigs, cattle and sheep. Total sheep feed production stood at 143,500 tonnes, up 43% (43,000 tonnes) year-on-year. A rise was recorded in all categories…

Diverging trends in lamb prices, as throughputs finally record some up-lift

For two weeks running now liveweight lamb prices have risen. During the week ending 7 November the GB liveweight NSL SQQ gained 2.46p, to 169.57p/kg. However, despite this rise the quote fell behind year earlier levels although it remains well above of the five year average. Again, auction market throughputs have continued to trend below year earlier levels, down 6% to 107,400 head. New season…

EU beef update

EU beef production in August 2018 was relatively stable on the year, increasing by only 1.8% to 672,700 tonnes. This brought the total beef production for the year so far to 5.2 million tonnes, 2.2% higher than the same period in 2017. Of the top EU producers, total beef production in Germany, France and UK in August remained steady, with marginal decreases of just 2.3%…

Asia continues to drive global beef demand

In recent years, the Asian continent has been a significant growth area for global beef exports. Underpinned by numerous emerging economies and growing household incomes throughout the region, beef exports in 2018 continue to grow at an astounding rate. Asia now accounts for almost 50% of total global beef imports (including imports from both within and outside Asia). The top five beef importers in Asia…

Increased throughputs weigh on prime cattle price

Deadweight cattle prices in the week ending 3 November fell slightly on the week by 0.85p to 361.85p/kg. Despite this small weekly decline, the GB prime cattle price remains 2.2p above year earlier levels and 4.1p higher than the five year average. Weekly changes in price were seen across the different specifications. The overall steer price was down 2.1p on the week to 362.6p/kg. Conversely,…