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.

Irish cattle throughputs up, but weights down

In line with Bord Bia’s expectations for this year, so far throughputs at Irish cattle processing facilities have been higher than last year. In the first four months of 2018, 612,000 head of cattle have been killed, an increase of 4% year on year. However, production is up by just over 2.5% (5,000 tonnes cwe) over the same period, to 199,000 tonnes. Across all categories…

UK cow price continues to ride high

During the week ending 19 May, the GB all prime average remained steady (-0.3p) on the previous week, at 365.26p/kg. This slight pause in the trend comes after five consecutive weeks of gains. The measure currently stands above both the five year average and the same week last year, by 19p and 10p respectively. Industry reports suggest that while some processors are short of cattle…

EU economic outlook: cautious growth forecast

The European economy has grown at the fastest rate in a decade during 2017, according to the spring 2018 economic forecast from the European Commission. For the first time all member states experienced growth. However, indications are that this pace has slowed in early 2018, although with unemployment still falling and inflation increasing slowly, the European economy still has room to grow. As such, gross…

UK beef production on the rise

During April, UK production of beef and veal totalled 77,600 tonnes, 13% more than in the same month last year, according to the latest data from Defra. Prime cattle slaughterings increased by 9% year-on-year, to 170,300 head. Unsurprisingly considering the strong cow price and reported demand for manufacturing beef, slaughterings of adult cattle were 28% up on year earlier levels, at 55,300 head. Average dressed…

Young bull production continues to decline

UK production of bull beef totalled 75,000 tonnes during 2017, down 7,000 tonnes (-7%) on 2016 production. The majority of bull beef production in the UK comes from young bulls. This is the 8th year in a row that bull beef production has declined, a reduction of 55% since 2010. 2017 throughputs are down 9% on 2016 levels to total 203,700 head slaughtered. Production levels…

UK sheep meat trade grows in value in March

The UK imported 10,400 tonnes of fresh/frozen sheep meat during March, a 2% (200 tonnes) decline year-on-year, according to the latest data from HMRC. Reduced imports from Australia contributed to the decline, with imports falling 59% (700 tonnes) to 500 tonnes compared to the same month last year. Similarly, imports from Ireland also declined, falling by 30% (200 tonnes) year-on-year to 600 tonnes.  Meanwhile, imports…

Poland targets higher value beef exports

Total fresh/frozen beef exports from Poland were up 42,000 tonnes (+12%) in 2017 compared to 2016 while value was up £287 million (+30%). Polish beef has a good reputation in Italy and that country is now the main export market. Exports of fresh/frozen beef in 2017 grew 8% year-on-year to total 85,500 tonnes.  Exports volumes of fresh/frozen beef to Turkey have increased by 6,900 tonnes…

Liveweight lamb prices slip, while deadweight move up again

During the most recent weeks, liveweight and deadweight lamb prices recorded movements in different directions. In the week ended 16 May, the GB liveweight OSL SQQ declined by 4.1p, to 237.03p/kg. Although this is the second consecutive week of declines the measure still currently stands well above year earlier levels (+46.75p). The GB liveweight NSL SQQ remained steady on the previous week (+0.5p), to 303.96p/kg.…

More shoppers purchase lamb, but buying less

Retail data covering the Easter period is now available. In the 12 weeks ending 22 April, the total spend on fresh/frozen primary lamb increased by 2% on the year, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel. However, the total volume sold decreased by 6%. Shoppers can be price sensitive and therefore the decline in volume may have been partly due to the 9% increase…

Prime cattle averages continue upwards

In the week ended 12 May 2018, GB all prime average gained 1.58p on-the-week, to 365.56p/kg. This price is currently 12p higher compared to year earlier levels. The gap between 2018 prices and the five year average has been widening since mid-March, and is still increasing, with prices now over 19p above the five year average. Industry reports suggest demand could stay ahead of supplies…

Little change in producer share of beef retail price

The producer share of beef retail prices has remained reasonably steady so far in 2018, and stood at 51% in April, according to AHDB estimates. The retail price of the individual cuts themselves has also been relatively stable since March. Since the start of the year, the producer share has remained within a one and a half percentage point range. In March, the average farmgate…

Consumption of sheep meat in MENA

The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) is a huge region with a varied consumer market. Sheep meat is a very important protein in much of the region due to its association with religious festivals and family celebrations. Premium lamb and import demand are expected to grow over the coming years especially in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, driven by an increase in disposable incomes,…