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.

Exporters’ reliance on China

As we recently reported, China’s imports of meat protein have grown phenomenally this year due to the impact of African Swine Fever (ASF).  Particularly noticeable is the increase in fresh/frozen beef through that period.  Lamb trade has also grown, albeit somewhat more modestly than beef. Looking to the top five exporters of beef and lamb to China, it is noticeable to see that a number…

Liveweight lamb prices firm slightly

Lamb prices firmed slightly in the most recent week, with the NSL SQQ lifting by just under a penny to average 164.4p/kg for the week ending 18 September. The price is still behind last years levels but has moved slightly above (+1.6p) above the five year average. Industry reports suggest the supply of lambs is relatively plentiful, indeed auction market throughputs totalled 104,000 head, an…

Latest silage results look promising for winter-feeding

Silage stocks are reportedly looking plentiful for most producers. On the whole, GB grass growth this seasonal has been good. A mild winter and good weather in early spring meant growth rates started the season well. As a result, many producers have been able to adopt multiple cut systems, adding to overall stock levels. Grass silage quality, in particular, is looking very good and so…

No respite for cattle prices

During the week ending 14 September GB cattle prices continued on a downwards trajectory. The all prime average lost 1.8p, to stand at £3.23/kg. All categories recorded declines, although heifers recorded sharper declines than steers. Price drops were recorded across all GB regions, although were more muted in the South. Average carcase weights continue to be above year earlier levels, but have been easing week-on-week…

Comparing GB cattle prices to export performance

Last week we took a look at the relationship between cattle farmgate prices and retail prices, and found little direct correlation for a variety of reasons. Retail sales are only one outlet for domestic beef, along with food service and exports. Exports have increased so far this year, although they continue to account for less than a fifth of domestic production. Although export volumes are…

Low domestic prices lead to an increase in UK beef exports

During July, UK beef exports (incl processed products) increased 29% (+2,500 tonnes) year on year, according to HMRC data. The average price however, was back by around 20%. This increase in UK exports is in part due to low domestic prices although weakness in the pound does help UK competitiveness. GB monthly deadweight cattle prices fell in July to the lowest point since June 2016…

UK sheep meat imports down in July, while exports grew

In July 2018 UK sheep meat trade recorded some very unusual trends, driven in part by a decline in product availability due to the drought and high spring lamb prices in the UK. This in inevitably having an effect on some the year-on-year changes this year. So far in 2019, import trends have followed the seasonal pattern, although at a lower level than the five-year…

New Zealand reducing lamb exports to EU

New Zealand is continuing to decrease sheep meat exports to the EU. In the year to July, shipments to the EU totalled 67,100 tonnes, 20% less than during the same period last year. The decline is partly due to New Zealand increasing sheep meat exports to China. These shipments grew by 16% (+18,400 tonnes) in the year to July compared to the previous year. This…

Lamb prices follow seasonal trends

Liveweight lamb prices continued their seasonal decline in the week ending 11 September. The GB liveweight NSL SQQ declined 7p week-on-week, to 163.53p/kg. The quote continues to trend below last year’s level, and is now marginally below the five-year average. Last week’s auction market throughputs were exceptionally high, so it will come as no surprise that numbers were back 16% this week to 105,000 head.…

Higher carcase weights keep production up despite lower numbers

UK clean sheep slaughtering was down 1% on August 2018 at 1.25m head. Due to higher carcase weights, production of sheep meat was 1.1% higher at 29,000 tonnes. The weather has supported weights this year compared to last, when the drought restricted available forage. Numbers may continue to be supported as we approach the Halloween Brexit deadline if people decide to reduce stocks in anticipation…

Heavier carcase weights continue to drive up UK beef production

In August, UK production of beef and veal was up by 3% on the year. Slaughter remained in line with last year, however heavier carcase weights drove up production. Slaughter Prime cattle slaughter in August reached 160,000 head, which is only marginally (200 head) below the same month last year. Throughputs of young bulls dropped considerably on the year (2,000 head), however this was compensated…

Cattle prices slip again

Cattle prices returned to a downward track in the week ending 7 September. The all prime GB average fell by a penny to average £3.25/kg. Similarly R4L steers fell by 2p to average £3.36/kg. R4L heifers however held up slightly better, remaining level on the week at £3.37/kg. Despite reports that beef demand has recently picked up, a deeper dive into Kantar Worldpanel data revealed…