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.

Sheep disease update: abortion and liver fluke

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has released the latest GB Emerging Threats Quarterly Report – Small Ruminants Diseases, which covers April to June 2018 (Quarter 2). During quarter one, the weather made headlines bringing cold and wet conditions, however more recently it has of course been hot and dry even with some wildfires reported. Abortion was one of the most common diagnosis so…

Are rises in UK food prices out of line with global trends?

Food prices have been hitting headlines in recent months. The UK CPIH* has increased by 2.3% year-on-year, to July 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics.  Meanwhile the food category of the CPIH increased by 1.9%, with meat recording a 1.6% rise and dairy products up almost 3%. During the same period, transport has risen by 6%. In the US, food prices have risen…

Australian herd back in contraction

Cattle producers in Australia have recently been suffering another period of drought. Large areas of the cattle producing states of Queensland and New South Wales have gone for prolonged periods without any significant rainfall. The season continues to deteriorate and the Australian herd has gone back into a liquidation phase. The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have reported the percentage of female…

Finished lamb prices slip in line with seasonal trends

England and Wales auction market store lamb prices have remained reasonably stable in the past few weeks, standing at around £55 per head. Compared to the past two years this is now in-line with prices for the time of year, after having recovered from a subdued start. The pick-up in prices came when rain started to fall, grass began to grow again, and those store…

Store cattle prices show some recovery post-drought, but still depressed

During the warm, dry weather store cattle prices took a tumble, but with the rain having now come and grass growing again, prices have staged some recovery. Calf prices typically decline during the summer months as more come to market following spring calving. However this year, the decline began earlier and was sharper than in the past two years, although in more recent weeks prices…

Weather continues to influence retail meat purchases

During the 12 weeks ending 12 August, meat retail sales continued to follow trends set out in the past two updates, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel. With much of the country continuing to have warm, dry weather, BBQs will have remained popular.   Reflecting this, burgers have been popular with volume sales up 15% and the value of this market increasing by 18%. Market…

Another positive week for the prime cattle trade

Over the bank holiday weekend, in week ended 1 September the GB prime cattle trade continued to demonstrate a degree of positivity. Farmgate prices have continued a steady upward climb, suggesting the balance of trade lies in the producers favour at present. Reports suggest that processors have been more active in the market, with the weak pound and end of the summer holiday period boosting…

EU sheep meat demand improves in Spain

There have been some positive developments in sheep meat demand in Spain early this year, although the same cannot be said for closer to home. Low levels of consumption mean that only France, Spain (and the UK) regularly report trends in sheep meat retail purchase data. Nonetheless, the available data does indicate that the Spanish market may have turned a corner early this year. Although…

Contraction in Northern Ireland livestock numbers – June 2018

The provisional results of the Northern Ireland agricultural June survey have now been released by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). Unsurprisingly, considering the weather in the spring, the number of lambs on farm at the date of survey contracted by 2%, to 1,014,900 head. Meanwhile the total number of cattle dropped to 1,629,100 head. Sheep Over the past few years the…

EU heavy lamb market slides

During the spring and early summer, the EU heavy lamb price remained well above the 5-year average due to tight overall supply, according to data from the European Commission. However, this dynamic switched at the start of July as supplies began to outweigh demand, resulting in the price falling quickly to below the 5-year average. The heavy lamb price has fallen €120/100kg deadweight since the…

New Zealand trade up, despite high prices

New Zealand production has now begun to decline in-line with seasonal trends. Reflecting this, lamb slaughterings during July fell below the one million head mark for the first month since September 2017, according to the Ministry of Primary Industries. Between October 2017 and July 2018, 18.5 million head of lambs were slaughtered, up 3% on the same period 12 months earlier. Similarly, during this period,…

Brazil top of global beef trade for first five months

Brazil, Australia, India and the US are the four major global exporters of fresh/frozen beef. According to data from Global Trade Atlas, in the first five months of the year Brazil emerged as the top global exporter of beef. Brazilian fresh/frozen beef exports totalled 500,000 tonnes, an increase of 19% compared to the same period last year. Recently, Brazil has been significantly increasing exports into…