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.

Cattle prices continue to decline

Deadweight cattle prices fell slightly again in the latest week, following the seasonal trend for the time of year as cattle coming off grass put pressure on the market. In the week ending 13 October, the GB all prime average declined by just under 1p to 366.22p/kg. Despite this small weekly decline, the price surpasses year earlier levels by 2.60p and remains higher than the…

Fewer prime cattle slaughterings in September

During September, according to the latest data from Defra, total beef and veal production was down slightly, by 1.1% (-800 tonnes) compared to the previous year, to total 73,500 tonnes. Despite this, production in the year to September is still 11,200 tonnes (+1.7%) more than in the previous year to total 678,600 tonnes. The decrease in production during September has been driven by lower prime…

EU outlook for beef – Autumn 2018

According to the May-June 2018 livestock survey, the total cow herd was down by 0.6% year-on-year. This follows an increased number of breeding cattle brought forward as a result of the recent drought reducing feed availability. Consequently, EU beef production increased by 1.9% in the first half of 2018; mainly attributable to slaughterings of cows and heifers. This increase, however, is expected to stagnate going…

August was a false start for lamb slaughterings, as September numbers are depressed

During August, UK clean sheep slaughterings picked up, but this momentum was not carried into September. During September the number coming forwards slipped 15% (116,000 head) on-the-year, to just over 1.1 million head. Ewe numbers followed a similar trend, declining 9% (13,500 head) year-on-year, to 129,000 head. Carcase weights for clean sheep increased by 300g compared to year earlier levels, while ewes slipped by 1.9kg.…

Cattle population data in July, and Defra’s June survey

GB cattle population data for July is now available from BCMS. The data shows that following a hard spring calving period, the numbers of beef cattle on the ground under 6 months have declined by 24,000 head (-2.1%). Numbers in England declined by 1.3% compared to a year earlier. Meanwhile, numbers in Scotland and Wales, which fared worse in the bad weather during the spring,…

Lamb prices continue to trend above the five year average

The GB NSL liveweight SQQ in the week ending 10 October changed direction again, increasing by 3.62p, to 168.66p/kg. It is not unusual for prices to fluctuate at this time of year, before typically beginning to gently rise from November onwards. Currently, the quote stands just below year earlier levels, but well clear of the five year average. Industry reports suggest that while demand is…

US beef update – higher production weighs on price

US beef production in 2018 has been higher for much of the year so far. Extra product in the market place has resulted in stocks being built up which has put pressure on prices but has helped competitiveness in export markets.  Total beef production is up by almost 4% to total 8.1million tonnes in the year to August compared to a year ago. This has…

UK June survey provisional results for sheep from Defra

The provisional Defra UK June survey results for 2018 have now been released. According to the release, the number of lambs on farm at 1 June in the UK declined by 2% (400,000 head), to 16.9 million head. However, the provisional results for England, Northern Ireland and Scotland have also been released separately, and together these suggest that the UK lamb crop may be lower…

Lowest number of lambs in Scotland since 2013

The Scottish Government has released the latest June survey results for Scotland. Unsurprisingly, considering the weather at lambing, there has been a significant, 6%, contraction in the flock compared to year earlier levels, totalling 6.6 million head. Within this, the number of lambs on farm as at the 1 June declined by 8% (270,000 head) to 3.1 million head, which is the smallest number for…

Australian sheep slaughter forecast revised upwards

In the most recent update to its sheep market projection, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has revised both its slaughter and export forecasts upwards. Lamb slaughter is now expected to reach 22.9 million head, a 2% increase over 2017, although production from these lambs is still forecast to be stable due to lower carcase weights. This reflects the dry conditions experienced this year. Lambs available…

Cattle prices follow seasonal decline

Deadweight cattle prices slipped slightly on the week, following the seasonal trend for this time of year as cattle coming off grass put pressure on the market. In the week ended 6 October, the GB all prime average declined by just over 3p to average 367.19p/kg. Despite the decline, due to the price last year falling at a similar rate , the price remains much…

Red meat sales decline as summer extends into autumn

During the 12 weeks ending 9 September, meat retail sales declined, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel. Primary meat in particular is feeling the strain, despite the afterglow of summer sustaining volume sales of the other categories. Spend in the other categories looks to have been driven by a desire for quick and convenient foods, consumed at barbeques and picnics. Reflecting this, burger sales have…