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.

UK Sheep meat imports continue to fall but exports receive a boost

UK sheep meat imports in June declined month-on-month, continuing the general downward trend seen over the last 12 months. Sheep meat exports however have increased in June compared with both last year and last month. Sheep meat imported in June totalled 6,181 tonnes, a 25% decline year on year. This is largely due to a 37% decline in New Zealand exports to the UK. New…

Beef and veal production down on the year in July

Prime cattle slaughterings declined on the year by 1% in July to 156,000 head, according to latest data from Defra. The majority of the reduction was driven by a 14% (3,600 head) fall in young bull slaughterings, outweighing a slight rise in steer (2% or 1,600 head) and heifer (2% or 900 head) throughputs in July compared to the same period in 2016. Calf slaughterings…

UK sheep meat production

UK sheep meat production held steady in July at 23.4 thousand tonnes compared to the previous month, according to latest data from DEFRA. This represents a 4% drop in production compared to July 2016, and is the first month in 2017 where production has been lower year-on-year. Putting this into context, year to date production is now 161 thousand tonnes, still 6.4% higher than during…

New Zealand stock number survey released

Beef and Lamb New Zealand in conjunction with Statistics New Zealand, has published the results of the stock number survey undertaken in June 2017. The decline in the sheep flock has slowed, while the cattle herd has increased by 2.8% to 3.6 million head. Despite growth in New Zealand’s cattle herd, the size of the beef breeding herd has remained unchanged, at 950 thousand head.…

Positive movement for UK beef and veal exports

In June, UK beef and veal export volumes stood at 8.5 thousand tonnes. This was 4% higher than a year earlier and broadly in line with the previous month. However, following a slow start to 2017, total exports for the first half of the year are still 7% behind 2016 earlier levels at 50.5 thousand tonnes. June represents the second consecutive month of year-on-year export…

Sheep price trends diverge again

In the week ending 16 August, the liveweight GB NSL SQQ recorded a fall for the second week running, losing 1.35p to average 191.35p/kg. This is 5p above the same week last year. As seen last week, there was a pattern of prices softening through the week under the pressure of increased throughputs. Wednesday 16 August recorded prices standing at 188.23p/kg, 0.62p down on the…

The run up to Eid

The festival of Eid-al-Adha and will begin on the evening of 31 August this year, and run until 4 September. Processors typically source animals two or three weeks before the festival, and the timing this year means that the sheep required will need have to have been born before 1 March. The festival is held approximately 70 days after the end of Ramadan, where it…

Calf registrations fall during the first half of 2017

Registered calf births in the first half of 2017 were down by nearly 11,000 head (-1%) on year earlier levels at 1.57 million head, according to figures from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS). This is the first time that January to June calf registrations have not recorded year on year growth since 2013. However, the trend of the last couple of years towards higher…

Mixed year so far for French sheep industry

The French sheep flock is made up of 5.36 million ewes put to the ram in late 2016, a fall of 27% compared to the flock in 2000. The majority, 3.78 million head, or 71%, are suckler ewes whose main purpose is to breed lambs for consumption. This part of the flock has reduced by 34% since 2000. The other 29% of the flock are…

Producer share of lamb retail price falls

During July, producers’ share of retail prices continued to rise for beef. Meanwhile, for sheep meat the producers share fell, however still stands higher than at this time last year. Sheep meat producers share dropped by almost five percentage points to 56%. Although this is a month on month fall the share is still higher year on year. A fall in producer share perhaps is…

Cattle prices show gains in Scotland

In the week ending 12 August, the GB all prime average cattle price fell very slightly by 0.33p to 369.61p/kg. Overall steer prices remained unchanged at 370.2p/kg, while overall young bull prices fell by 1.5p to 353.8p/kg. Heifer prices fell slightly too, by 0.8p overall, averaging 374.1p/kg for the week. Prices in England and Wales changed little for male cattle, R4L steers gaining 0.1p to…

Store cattle trends inching above prices seen last year

Store cattle prices in 2017 have been stronger than last year in England and Wales. While higher year on year finished cattle prices will have contributed to the overall picture, prices of store cattle have not followed the same pattern seen in the deadweight market. Throughputs for the first six months of 2017 total 221,019, a 3% year on year rise. This trend towards higher…