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.

Premium between new season lambs and hoggets narrower so far this year

Key trends in liveweight markets (w/ending 22 May) GB liveweight NSL SQQ fell, to 229.86p/kg GB liveweight OSL SQQ fell, to 185.5p/kg New season throughputs up, while hogget throughputs back, combining to be down at 93,400 head Hogget throughputs well down throughout May, reflecting the large kill in April Key deadweight market trends (w/ending 18 May) GB deadweight NSL SQQ fell, to 508.1p/kg GB deadweight…

Positive outlook for global beef and lamb

The latest FAO Food Outlook has been published, outlining updated production forecasts for the global meat industry for 2019. The report details global trade market outlooks for the year particularly in the face of African Swine Fever. Global meat production for 2019 is forecast to be down on last year at 336.5 million tonnes. The decrease of 0.2% is the first overall decline since 1996.…

Shrinking cattle population expected to tighten beef supplies

The GB cattle population has continued to fall, according to the latest data from the British Cattle Movement Service. At 1 April, the GB population totalled 7.99 million head, a 2% (140,000 head) decline compared to last year. The latest data suggests: Short-term beef supplies are likely to be stable to slightly below last year Longer-term beef supplies are expected to tighten due to a…

All prime average up slightly on the week, cows slip

For the week ending 18 May, cattle prices varied slightly. Steers stabilised with a fall of 0.1p/kg at 349.3p/kg.  The GB all-prime average followed its recent upward trend, to average 349.1p/kg.  Overall estimated slaughter is up over 1500 head from this period last year, although there are reports of abattoirs wanting fewer cattle because of lower demand.   The overall cow price fell 0.4p/kg during…

South American beef targeting a diverse range of markets

The South American trade bloc Mercosur currently consists of four countries*, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Collectively, they exported over 565,000 tonnes of fresh/frozen beef in the first quarter of 2019. This is more than total UK exports for the last 5 years combined. The majority of exports out of Mercosur come from Brazil, accounting for almost 60% of exports from the bloc. Recently, Mercosur…

Reduced Irish sheep meat production

Production and prices In the first quarter of 2019, Irish sheep meat production was 11% lower year-on-year, at 13,700 tonnes. Ireland’s farmgate prices over the past few weeks have been in a similar situation to the GB price, trending well below year earlier levels. This makes them feel low, but they are in fact in line with longer term averages for the time of year.…

UK beef production lower in April, but stable in the year so far

Lower prime cattle slaughter in April Average carcase weights up 1% Exports of fresh and frozen beef up in March, imports down Total prime cattle slaughtering for April stood at 162,000 head, down 1% on last year. This brings total prime slaughter for the first four months of 2019 to 660,700, 0.5% higher than last year, led by an increase in heifer slaughter; the number…

Leaner lambs in 2018 as farmers balance a tricky situation

GB sheep feed production was higher last year as farmers compensated for the lack of grass growth, yet overall lambs were leaner, according to AHDB/MLCSL data*.  The challenging weather was behind both trends. Poor growing conditions reduced grass growth, and overall demand for feed increased from all grazing livestock sectors including sheep. Feed prices increased which made purchasing high volumes of feed unattractive and tightened…

Someone lit a fire under the lamb kill

The lamb kill during April rocketed upwards to just under 1.1 million head, according to Defra data. Prices have held their ground, so overall, this suggests a sharp up lift in farmgate demand which could be a reflection of a number of things including: Easter falling later Reduction in imports from New Zealand Potential rise in export demand driven by the EU Lack of frozen…

Lamb prices slip back

In the week ending 15 May, both the old season and new season liveweight lamb prices slipped back slightly. The GB liveweight OSL SQQ price fell by 1.4p and averaged the week at 205.2p/kg. Similarly, the NSL price averaged 246.0p/kg, back a penny on the previous week. Both prices remain well below the 2018 price, although the OSL price is above the 5 year average…

All prime average continues to climb upwards

For the week ending 11 May, cattle prices were up on last week with the exception of heifer prices. The GB all-prime average continued its upward trend. The measure increased by 1.0p to stand at 348.9p/kg, currently 8.8p above the 5 year average. Overall estimated slaughter fell to 32,000 head, although remained above year earlier levels. Industry reports suggest plenty of cattle are available for…

UK lamb exports pick up in March, while import slip again

Sheep meat exports grew strongly during March 2019, according to HMRC data. Meanwhile, imports remained subdued. Unusually for the time of year, the UK was a net exporter in the month. Global market conditions were a key influence over the trade balance. A reduction in leg cuts (-2,000 tonnes) from New Zealand drove the decline in imports. Total fresh/frozen sheep meat imports stood at 8,000…