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 flocking around the Christmas tree

Daily liveweight lamb prices received a mix of fortunes during the week ended 19 December. To start with daily prices were slipping week-on-week, however on Tuesday and Wednesday prices rose. This combined to mean the overall weekly GB liveweight NSL SQQ stood at 185.42p/kg, up 2.07p on-the-week. The quote continues to stand well above both the five year average and last year’s price, by 11.18p…

Defra agricultural price index at highest level since 2013 for inputs

Every month Defra produces an agricultural price index which includes both input and output prices. The prices are based upon the prices farmers paid (or received) in any given month. Perhaps unsurprisingly costs over the past year have increased significantly, with the total input index rising by 8% year-on-year in October 2018. It now is likely to stand at the highest level since at least…

Has weight paid so far in 2018?

Previously, auction market throughputs were analysed based upon throughputs in the different weight categories. The SQQ in 2018 has bucked many typical trends, and weight categories have also diverged from typical patterns. Now we’ll look at price changes and try to see if so far in 2018 weight has paid? Prices of lambs in the “light” weight category have trended below year earlier levels for…

June survey confirms size of lamb crop, with fewer lambs expected to be held over

Defra has now released the official final June survey results for the UK, and this confirms the calculations done by AHDB a few weeks ago. This indicates that the lamb crop is around 990,000 head smaller year-on-year, which is in line with the AHDB April forecast. Naturally, since it is now December many of these lambs have already come forwards, as well as some also…

UK beef imports and exports decline in October

UK fresh/frozen beef imports were down by 3% in October 2018 compared to the previous year despite imports from Ireland rising year-on-year. Shipments to the UK totalled 25,000 tonnes in October with a number of smaller suppliers delivering less volume. Shipments from the Netherlands, Poland and Germany all declined in October. Imports of fresh/frozen beef from Ireland rose, by 6% to total 18,700 tonnes. Despite…

Prime cattle prices continue to slump

Deadweight cattle prices continued on a downward trend in the most recent week. The GB all prime average price fell by 2.61p in the week ending 15 December to finish the week on 350.25p/kg. The price is currently below both the five year average and last year’s price, by 6.12p and 11.68p respectively. The same trend has been recorded across the categories. Overall steers and…

UK sheep meat imports decline further in October

In October, UK sheep meat imports were down by 30% (-1,500 tonnes) on the year to 3,600 tonnes, following the 7% decline recorded in September, according to the latest data from HMRC. This follows strong year-on-year growth in the prior few months, which was driven by the large premium that the GB farmgate price had over New Zealand prices. Driving this, the top three import…

Heifer slaughter continues to drive UK beef production

UK beef and veal production during November totalled 85,700 tonnes, an increase of 1.4% (+1,200 tonnes) on November 2017. This has been driven by an increase in heifer slaughterings as well as overall prime cattle carcase weights increasing year-on-year. Slaughterings of young bulls, steers and cows all decreased year-on-year. Prime cattle slaughterings in November are up 1.5%, compared to the previous year, to total 182,000…

UK lamb slaughterings slip in line with seasonal trends

During November, clean sheep slaughterings were down 73,000 head on the year at 1,224,800 head, according to the latest data from Defra. In the year-to-November, new season lamb slaughterings totalled 7,347,500 head, 8% (628,400 head) lower than in the same period in 2017 and a 4% (73,000 head) decline month-on-month. This slip in slaughterings from the latest lamb crop is likely a continued effect of…

Feed market update – December 2018

Wheat markets drifted sideways early in the month, with a limited amount of market-shifting news. Towards the end of the month, shifts in currency provided some support to markets. This was especially true for UK feed wheat futures (May-19), which were driven by Brexit negotiations. The latter will continue to be watched closely. US prices also rose overall during the latest period due in part…

Good tidings for lamb prices

With Christmas just around the corner, farmers have continued to receive early gifts in the form of lamb price increases, supported by a boost in demand. Lamb demand does typically increase in the lead up to the festivities, and industry reports imply 2018 is no different. Daily liveweight lamb prices have generally been increasing on the week recently, albeit with a few slips along the…

NZ beef production rises as it eyes-up UK trade deal

Although New Zealand produces around a quarter less beef annually than the UK, around 90% is exported, making it one of the largest exporters in the world. New Zealand beef production in the year-to October totals 564,000 tonnes, up 6% year-on-year, according to data from the NZ Ministry of Primary Industries. Exports have reflected this increase, climbing 7% in the year to October at 363,300…