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.

Lamb prices increase in-line with seasonal trends

Lamb prices have once again recorded an increase, as they have during the recent weeks, which reflects the pattern normally seen at this time of year as demand rises towards Christmas. In the week ended 21 November, the GB liveweight NSL SQQ gained almost 3p, to 173.57p/kg. Compared to year earlier levels the quote currently stands 4.44p higher. Throughputs continued to reflect the trend of…

Brazilian beef exports overcome adversity

The Brazilian beef industry has had a less than smooth ride for much of 2018. At the start of the year a ban of Brazilian beef into Russia, a market which in 2017 amounted to 120,000 tonnes, affected the export price. A truckers strike followed in June, suppressing export volumes and disrupted much of the supply chain. Even so, Brazilian exports continue to grow in…

Deadweight cattle price records unusual decline in run up to Christmas

Deadweight cattle prices in the week ending 17 November fell more sharply than previous weeks. This continues a downward trend recorded since the end of September. The GB all prime price averaged the week on 358.08p/kg, a 2.9p decline on the week. This is at a time when demand in the run up to Christmas usually lifts the price. This has resulted in the price…

Feed market update – November 2018

Global grain markets tended to drift sideways this month, with most market activity leading to prices falling overall. Global wheat production figures were increased by several key organisations in their latest estimates released during the month. This was accompanied by a bumper spring wheat crop prediction for 2018/19 in the US and an increase in planted area for the following season (read more here). Despite…

UK sheep meat imports stall in September

During the past few months UK sheep meat imports have been recording strong year-on-year growth. However, during September this came to a sharp halt, recording an 8% (400 tonnes) decline to 4,300 tonnes, according to HMRC data. Imports from Ireland and Australia both recorded year-on-year declines, 40% (300 tonnes) and 66% (600 tonnes) respectively. In contrast, shipments from New Zealand recorded a rise of 14%…

UK lamb slaughterings pick up, but total number remains below year earlier levels

During October clean sheep slaughterings remained steady on year earlier levels at 1,269,000 head, according to the latest data from Defra. In contrast ewe slaughterings recorded a sharp year-on-year growth of 13%, to 153,100 head. However, in the previous month ewe slaughterings recorded a sharp decline and therefore in part this could be a timing change. Overall sheep meat production increased 2%, to 28,500 tonnes.…

A briefing note on the withdrawal agreement

After months and months of negotiations, a draft withdrawal agreement between the EU and UK was published on Wednesday 14 November. The draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK's ‘divorce’ from the EU, over 585 pages. In addition, the EU and the UK published a joint political declaration on their future relationship, which sets out broad areas of future co-operation. The…

Irish sheep update – higher supply but lower exports

294.8 thousand sheep were slaughtered in Ireland in September, including lambs and adult sheep, a similar level to September last year according to data from the Central Statistics Office. This brings the year-to-date total to 2.37 million head, 2.6% higher than over the same period last year. Heavy snowfall in February and March disrupted the movement of finished sheep, tightening supplies of lambs for slaughter…

Heifer slaughterings drive increased UK beef production

UK beef and veal production during October was up 5.6% to total 85,900 tonnes compared with a year ago, according to data from Defra. This increase was driven by higher slaughterings of both prime animals and cows during the month, despite a slight decrease in carcase weights. Year-to-date production is now 765,000 tonnes, up 2.2% compared to 2017. Prime cattle slaughterings contributed significantly to the…

UK Beef trade dips in September

In September, UK exports of fresh/frozen beef declined by 10.3% on the year to 8,734 tonnes. This was driven by decreased exports to four of the five biggest UK export destinations. Exports to Ireland and the Netherlands were down by 3.3% and 18.5% respectively. Between them, these countries account for over half of UK beef exports, although it is likely that some beef shipped to…

Lamb prices gently rise in run up to Christmas

For the third week running, the lamb price has moved in a positive direction, following closely to the seasonal average for the time of year as prices lift in the run up to Christmas. In the week ending the 14 November, the GB liveweight SQQ gained slightly on the week, by just over a penny to average the week on 170.58p/kg. The price is similar…

Plentiful supplies continue to put cattle prices under pressure

In the most recent week deadweight cattle prices have recorded declines across the board. During the week ending 10 November the GB all prime average measure recorded a marginal decline on the week of 0.87p to stand at 360.98p/kg. With the most recent decline the measure is now behind year earlier levels, but remains higher than the five year average. The overall steer price declined…