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: Weather impacts on cases of sheep scab and liver fluke

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has release the latest GB Emerging Threats Quarterly Reports – Small Ruminant Diseases covering January – March 2018. Forage prices have been high through this winter, reaching record breaking levels and much of what was available of poor quality. Inevitably, this had an impact on sheep welfare, with bad weather and poor grass growth adding to the situation.…

China beef market update: demand continues to outstrip supply

China is expected to consume over 8.5 million tonnes of beef in 2018 according to the latest USDA forecasts. This is more than any other country outside the US and 3.7% ahead of 2017. With increasing living standards and urbanisation, demand has been steadily rising despite beef being the most expensive animal protein available. Although domestic production has been increasing too, imports continue to play…

Auction market throughputs down, despite prices slipping

During the week ending 30 May, the GB liveweight NSL SQQ stood at 258.06p/kg, which is 8p down week-on-week and just 20p ahead of year earlier levels. Meanwhile, the GB liveweight OSL SQQ declined sharply (-25p), to 194.48p/kg which is only 8p above year earlier levels. With the auction market price now so close to year earlier levels, one might expect throughputs to have picked…

Irish lamb prices increasing

Irish sheep meat production has been higher so far in 2018 compared to year earlier levels (+2%), at 20,000 tonnes cwe, while numbers coming forwards increased by 3%, to 934,600 head , according to the Central Statistics Office. In quarter one, Irish exports grew by 5% on year earlier levels, to 12,000 tonnes. One of the larger recorded increases was in shipments to Germany, which…

US beef production continues to grow

US beef production is up 3% on year earlier levels in the first quarter of 2018, to 2.9 million tonnes. In addition, during May, the highest weekly slaughter of fed cattle since 2011 (660,000 head) was recorded. The USDA forecast production for 2018 to be up 6% overall, to a record level of 12.6 million tonnes. This is due to the continuing expansion of the…

Feed market update – May 2018

  Weather has continued to be the main driver in grain markets over the last month. New crop UK feed wheat futures have surged off the back of crop concerns to a new contract high, closing at £158.25/t on Friday 25 May. The drought in the key growing wheat regions in the US has continued into this month. The situation is unlikely to change in…

GB cattle prices rise again

During the week ending 26 May, the GB all prime average increased (+1.88p) on the previous week, to average 367.14p/kg to continue the upward trend that started back in March. This increase brings the measure over 20p higher than the five year average and over 10p higher than the same week last year. Industry reports suggest that larger producers are now getting filled up with…

Little change in trends recorded in New Zealand, and a possible EU Free Trade Agreement

In the first four months of 2018, New Zealand exported 177,300 tonnes of fresh/frozen sheep meat, a 6% decline on year earlier levels, according to data from Statistics New Zealand. At the same time, shipments to China increased by 1% on-the-year to 76,000 tonnes, following a strong rise in volume recorded at the start of 2017. As reported for several months, exports to the UK…

Brazilian beef market looking up

The Brazilian beef industry looks as if it is making steps towards recovery after a challenging year in 2017. In the final quarter of 2017, the total slaughterings were pegged at 8.1 million head, a 9% increase compared to the same period last year according to the IGBE, bringing slaughterings for 2017 4% higher compared to 2016, to over 30 million head. The increased pace…

Spring lamb prices remain strong, despite liveweight dip

In the week ended 23 May, the GB liveweight NSL SQQ declined by 37.54p week-on-week, to 266.42p/kg. The current quote still stands a noticeable 21p above year earlier levels, although this is a much smaller annual premium than has been recorded in previous weeks. The OSL SQQ recorded a similar trend, declining by 18p on the week, to 219.24p/kg. Again, this was still 25p above…

Higher temperatures boost grass growth across Europe

Data from the EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre indicates higher than usual temperatures are boosting pasture growth in several of Europe’s important livestock producing countries. In northern Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, grass growth rates are progressively recovering after a colder than usual period in February and March, which delayed pasture regrowth after winter. Mild temperatures since mid-April have accelerated leaf area formation, but biomass…

Lack of new season lambs putting UK production under pressure

Abattoir throughputs during April can be volatile, due the variable timing of the change over from old season lambs to new season lambs at this time of year. With the poor weather conditions at lambing, AHDB is forecasting the lamb crop to decline in size by 6% year-on-year. The reduced availability of new season lambs may be one of the driving forces in the reported…