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 ease

For the week ended 15 August, cattle prices for all categories continued to decrease. Steer prices saw the smallest decline during the week, with the overall steer price falling by 2p to 346.5p/kg. Although steers that graded R4L fared slightly better, prices still dropped by less than a penny to 358.4p/kg. Meanwhile, prices for young bulls and heifers fell by between 3p and 4p/kg. Overall,…

How does the exchange rate affect the GB sheep price?

One of the main developments affecting UK agriculture recently has been the strengthening of the pound against the euro. The recent highpoint for the value of the euro was in July 2013, when it was worth 87p. Between then and the end of 2014, the euro gradually reduced in value, reaching the end of last year worth about 78p. Then in January and February the…

Russia, a country surrounded by uncertainty

One year on from Russia banning agricultural imports from the west, its economy has proved to be quite resilient. However, this has come at a cost - higher interest rates, a devaluation of the rouble and dipping into their vast stockpile of foreign currency which is down almost a quarter compared to the same period last year. In addition, Russia is highly dependent on the…

France imports less beef in the first half of the year

The French beef market so far in 2015 has been characterised by an increase in domestic supplies but disappointing demand, both on its domestic market and its main export markets. Total beef and veal production in the first half of the year was up by over one per cent on the year earlier. France is the key driver of the EU cow beef market as…

Declining EU beef market

A downturn in supply availability in 2008 and again in 2012 and 2013, plus the economic crisis in the EU has resulted in declining per capita beef and veal consumption in recent years. The reduced supply has also contributed to increased retail prices and a switch to poultry meat. Beef and veal had performed relatively well during much of the 2000s, once demand had returned…

Liveweight trade falls as numbers increase

Following the uplift in prices seen last week, the lamb trade at GB auction markets has fallen back as higher numbers come through. In the week ended 12 August, the GB SQQ fell by 7p to 150.9p/kg, following higher numbers coming to markets. This left prices over 15p below the level seen in 2014. However, prices remain above levels seen two weeks previously, which was…

Australian sheep meat exports decline in the first half of 2015

Australian sheep meat exports fell four per cent in the first half of 2015, driven by a drop in mutton shipments and despite an increase in volume shipments of lamb. Lamb exports from Australia in the first half of 2015 reached 124,300 tonnes - up five per cent on the same period in 2014. This follows higher than expected production in Australia as dry weather…

The effect of increasing the weight of lambs beyond the SQQ

So far in 2015 we have seen very high levels of lambs carried over from the 2014 crop at the start of the year and, more recently, suggestions that producers are holding on to lambs in an attempt to get better prices. But what happens to the potential returns from a lamb if it is held back until it reaches higher weights? Although considering the…

Another drop in cattle prices

Reflecting the short-term imbalance in supply and demand cattle prices have come under some pressure again. In week ended 8 August, for the second week in a row, the deadweight all prime cattle average was back 4p on the week earlier at 346.3p/kg. Processor requirements for commercial and scheme cattle appears to have slowed slightly on the back of adequate supplies and well-stocked chill rooms.…

Strength of sterling continues to affect UK beef trade

Imports of beef to the UK in June were up 1,650 tonnes, or eight per cent, compared with the same month in 2014, to 22,200 tonnes. After being down on the year earlier in May, despite lower production, imports from Ireland were back to being up on the year earlier. There was also an increase in shipments from all the other main locations. Imports from…

EU beef demand still favour cheaper products

There have been some positives for the EU beef market so far in 2015, but more for ground beef rather than premium cuts, based on household panel surveys for the major consuming countries. The ground beef market, which mainly covers mince and burgers, continues to hold up well. This in turn has contributed to the good demand for manufacturing beef, especially cow beef. In France,…

UK sheep meat imports lower in June

Imports of sheep meat to the UK in June fell by 18 per cent on the year to 7,100 tonnes. This comes on the back of high levels of domestic production and falling exports from New Zealand. Notably, this fall comes despite the current strength of the pound making imports more competitive. Production levels in New Zealand are reported to have picked up in recent…