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.

Beef production dips in August

During August, total UK beef and veal production declined by 4% compared to July, according to the latest data published by Defra. Reported at 73,000 tonnes, this also represents a 2% decrease (1,800 tonnes) compared to this time last year. The fall in production comes from a decrease in the pace of slaughterings. The total prime cattle kill in August decreased by 2% (3,800 head)…

Liveweight lamb trade falls marginally

The GB liveweight lamb trade eased again in week ended 19 September, however the price decline was much smaller than in the previous week; the GB SQQ averaged 170.60p/kg, less than a penny lower week-on-week. This means the SQQ has now been above year earlier levels for two consecutive weeks, with the gap widening to 7.5p. Looking on a daily basis, the overall decline was…

UK beef exports struggle in July but remain higher for the year

UK fresh/frozen beef exports during July declined by 7% (-500 tonnes) year-on-year to 7,300 tonnes. Declines have been predominately driven by a decrease in exports to Ireland, Hong Kong and Italy, down by 14%, 9% and 20% respectively. These declines were mitigated in part by a 20% increase (+300 tonnes) in shipments to the Netherlands, some of which is potentially being re-exported after processing. Exports…

UK sheep meat imports increase in July

In July, the volume of sheep meat imported to the UK increased by over a third compared to a year earlier, reflecting strong growth in shipments from New Zealand. Overall, 8,000 tonnes of sheep meat were imported during the month. The recent higher import levels likely follow from lower UK production volumes, with mutton and lamb production down 5% on 2017 levels for the year…

Lower GB calf registrations in 2018 point to tighter beef supply ahead

Now that the peak beef calving period is over, data made available by British Cattle Movement Service makes it possible to see how calving this year has gone, and consider what the implications might be for future cattle availability. In the first seven months of the year, 1.75 million cattle births have been registered in Great Britain, a 1% decline on the same period in…

Lamb throughputs start to pick up

The latest statistics released by Defra indicate that during August, UK clean sheep slaughter totalled 1.3 million head. This is an increase of 26,000 head (+2%) compared to August 2017. It is likely that slaughterings are up now, as lambs that have suffered from delayed finishing through the dry weather of June and July slowly start to catch up.  The increases are driven by a…

Cattle prices continue upwards

Deadweight cattle prices continue to climb out of the dip experienced in the dry summer period. In the week ended 15 September, the GB all prime average rose by just over 2p to average 369.15p/kg. The price at this time last year was fairly stable, and therefore with the recent price rises, the gap between the two prices has narrowed further, and the current price…

Cattle disease update

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has released the latest GB emerging threats quarterly report: cattle diseases, covering April to June. The weather this summer has led to concerns about the availability of grazed grass, grass silage and other forages as producers head into the winter housing period. As well as the impending management decisions that have to be made, the heat wave has…

Downward trend continues in liveweight lamb trade

Further price falls were recorded in the liveweight lamb trade in the week ended 12 September. At 171.52p/kg, the GB SQQ declined by 7p week-on-week. Price falls were recorded throughout the week. However, sharper falls at this time last year mean that the latest weekly figure is now fractionally above equivalent 2017 levels. This is the first time since June that the weekly SQQ has…

Cattle numbers decline in England

The total number of cattle and calves in England at 1 June 2018 was 5,372,000. This was down -0.8% (45,700 head) on the previous year and the lowest since 2013, according to the latest survey data released by Defra. This decline in the total cattle herd was driven by a decline in both the breeding herd and number of youngstock on farm. The breeding herd…

Cattle prices continue rally

Deadweight cattle prices continued to increase, albeit more modestly than in previous weeks. In the week ended 8 September the GB all prime average rose by 1.96p to average 367.14p/kg in the week. The price difference between this year and last year has narrowed in recent weeks. The current price remains 6.24p below 2017 levels, although it is now over 6p above the 5 year…

Straw prices slip but still elevated

During June, big square baled barley and wheat straw prices in England and Wales declined by £25 to £74/tonne and £23 to £65/tonne respectively, according to data from the British Hay and Straw Merchants Association (BHSMA). Prices now stand at the lowest levels since autumn 2017, although both are still above typical historic levels. Hay prices have also moved downwards, but again are high in…