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.

Lower prices boosting Chinese sheep meat consumption

Consumption of sheep meat in China has had a boost from falling prices since 2014 and increased product availability. However, prices have begun to move higher again in recent months, and wholesale mutton prices are close to prices in early 2016. However, demand for the Chinese New Year is reported to have been firm. Domestic consumption is focussed on mutton, which is widely produced in…

Little shift in the EU sheep meat market

Production and consumption of sheep and goat meat in the EU can at best be described as static at present. The sector continues to be marginalised, given its disadvantage to the other there main meats. Greater efforts are being made to address this issue, focussing on both promotion and product development especially geared towards the younger age groups. However, payback has to be seen as…

Stability continues in liveweight lamb trade

The GB SQQ rose by almost 3p/kg to 176.60p/kg, for the week ending 22 March. The price has remained in a broadly stable pattern since the beginning of the year. Easter in 2016 had already started to contribute to price strength by this time, when liveweight prices were around 18p higher than they are now. Easter 2017 of course falls later, but is around the…

Dutch cows to the slaughter

The Dutch cattle industry focuses primarily on the production of milk.  As a result, although a very small amount of the beef produced in the Netherlands comes from specialist cattle farms, most of it comes from dairy cows. The Netherlands is both a large importer and exporter of beef and veal. Some imported product, including cow beef, is processed in the Netherlands before being re-exported…

Cattle trade edges back again

In week ended 18 March, the deadweight cattle trade edged back again. Following the general seasonal pattern, prices have been slowly coming back for a number of weeks and at 345.4p/kg the GB all prime average is now back 8p since the turn of the year. Processor requirements for commercial cattle in particular appears to be in just ahead of the needs of their retail…

Growth in beef and veal production in EU to slow?

Following solid growth over the previous two years beef and veal production growth in the European Union is set to stall somewhat through 2017 and 2018. This conclusion is based on the suppositions from the EU forecast working group, which met in Brussels earlier this month.  The expectation is that a slowdown in production growth in Poland and France and some stability in the UK…

Increased number of lambs carried over in the UK this year

The total number of sheep and lambs recorded in the UK as of 1 December 2016 was up by three per cent on the previous year at 23.8 million head. This increase was almost entirely driven by a notable uplift in the number of lambs on farm, up seven per cent year on year to 9.1 million head. The larger lamb crop in 2016 and…

50 year low for Scottish cattle numbers

Cattle numbers in Scotland have fallen to their lowest position since 1950, according to figures released recently by the Scottish Government. The results of the December Agricultural Survey indicated that the number of cattle in the Scottish herd fell by over one per cent, or 23,900 head, on the year earlier to 1.71 million. The year on year reduction in the size of the herd…

Further increases in lamb slaughterings

The latest slaughter figures released by Defra for February indicate lamb slaughterings were higher than those in the corresponding month last year.  At 878,100 head, numbers are reported to be two per cent up year on year.  However, when appropriate adjustments to the 2016 data is made to account for the fact that there was an extra working day in February 2016 over February 2017…

Supplies of heavy lambs drive liveweight market

The liveweight market is vital for the UK lamb sector, with about half of all finished lambs being sold through them. It is more important to the sheep industry than any other species. As a result, when reporting on the liveweight market we normally focus on the movements seen in the overall SQQ. However here we will look a little deeper into the prices and…

Stability in the UK cattle herd

The total number of cattle and calves in the UK as of December, was almost unchanged on the year at 9.8 million head, according to the latest statistics from Defra. Through the period 2012 to 2015, the dairy segment of the breeding herd grew as the industry geared up in anticipation of the removal of milk quotas. However, in a change to these developments, at…

Stability in liveweight lamb trade

Liveweight lamb prices have seen steady in the past week despite a higher number of lambs coming to market during the week. The GB SQQ saw general stability in the week ended 15 March at 173.4p/kg, consequently remaining at its highest position seen so far in 2017. However, with prices last year increasing during this period as a result of the earlier Easter, 2017 prices…