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.

Tighter domestic supply continues to slow UK beef exports

In August UK exports of fresh and frozen beef were once again down on year earlier levels, according to latest data from HMRC. At 8,320 tonnes, shipments of beef and veal from the UK were 3% lower on August 2016. Nonetheless, the value of these exports increase by 8% on the year to £33.5 million, as the average unit price climbed, partly due to the…

USDA forecasts growth in beef and veal production

The latest outlook from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts global beef and veal production to rise nearly 2% on the year in 2018 to 63 million tonnes, with the US and Brazil accounting for half of all growth. Within this, US production is expected to increase by nearly 3% to 12.4 million tonnes, as the US herd expands for the fourth consecutive…

Sheep prices show lack of direction

During the week ending 18 October GB liveweight NSL SQQ fell 5.15p week-on-week to 164.11p/kg. However, the quote stood 4.05p above the same week in the previous year. Daily prices have been consistently down throughout the week, although on Wednesday 18 October prices were 1.98p above the same day last week at 165.79p/kg. During the week ending 14 October GB deadweight NSL SQQ recorded an…

GB cattle prices continue to slip

In the week ending 14 October, the GB all prime average cattle measure declined by nearly 3p on the previous week to 363.61p/kg. Furthermore, the latest quote is now just 13.4p above year earlier levels. It has once again been reported that processors had secured enough supply for the week, with estimated prime cattle slaughterings declining slightly by 1% to 31,400 head in the week…

Should the liveweight sheep SQQ bands be changed?

The SQQ is the sheep industry’s most frequently used price measure for prime lambs. It is an average price for all lambs marketed within predefined weight bands. It is a standard measure which has been used consistently over many years. The SQQ is also used and understood as an indication of the ‘target range’ for marketing lambs. In auction markets, the SQQ is currently defined…

Brexit challenges for beef and sheep farm incomes?

According to the latest AHDB Horizon report, Brexit scenarios: an impact assessment, Brexit could bring challenges to beef and sheep farm incomes. The report explores three possible post-Brexit situations and models their effect on Farm Business Income (FBI) on a sector-by-sector basis. Possible alterations to trade, domestic farm policy, labour supply, and the regulatory environment are explored under the following scenarios: Scenario 1, “Evolution”- a…

UK cattle herd remains stable

The total number of cattle and calves in the UK as of 1 June barely changed (-0.3%) on the year at 10 million head, according to provisional survey results from Defra. Both the dairy and beef breeding herds recorded marginal declines of 0.3% and 0.4% respectively to 1.89 million head and 1.59 million head respectively. During the first part of the year there were fewer…

Largest UK sheep flock since 2006

The total number of sheep in the UK as at 1 June increased by 2% on the year to 34.6 million head, the largest national flock since 2006, according to provisional survey results from Defra. The breeding ewe flock increased by 2% year-on-year, to 16.6 million head, which is also the largest breeding flock since 2006. Included within this number are 2.9 million ewes intended…

UK beef and veal output down in September

In September, prime cattle slaughterings declined on year earlier by 3% to 159,600 head, according to latest figures from Defra. However, it is worth noting that there was an extra working day in September 2016, therefore on a like for like basis slaughterings may have been more stable. The majority of the reduction in prime cattle slaughterings was driven by a 16% (3,100 head) annual…

New Zealand beef and lamb outlook published

The new season outlook for New Zealand beef and lamb production forecasts increases in lamb exports in the 2017/18 season, while beef exports are set to decline. Sheep numbers at 30 June amounted to 27.3 million head; down just under 1% year-on-year, following drought conditions and a facial eczema outbreak in 2016. Figures were a result of fewer breeding ewes in most regions, but moderated…

Sheep prices on hold, while market throughputs rise

During the week ending 11 October GB liveweight NSL SQQ remained steady at 169.26p/kp, falling only 0.19p week-on-week. The quote stood 3.54p above the same week last year. Based on past years, prices might be expected to broadly stabilise around this time of year, and over the coming months, although still with some small week on week fluctuations. Auction market throughputs rose by 28% week-on-week,…

GB cattle prices continue to fall

In the week ending 7 October, the GB all prime average cattle measure recorded its largest weekly decline in a year. At 366.54p/kg the current quote is 3.41p down week on week, although it remains over 15p above year earlier levels. Estimated slaughterings of prime cattle for the week increased by 2% to 30,600, with reports suggesting that processors have secured enough animals for the…