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.

Easter falling later impacts red meat sales

Easter falls three weeks later this year compared to last year. This means shopping for Easter will also be later. Naturally, this has an effect on retail volumes of meat, especially lamb, making it harder to make year on year comparisons. In the 12 weeks ended 24 March, GB retail sales of fresh and frozen beef declined by just over 5% year-on-year, while marginally increases…

Cattle prices turn around

In the week ending 13 April, GB cattle prices rose across the board. The overall prime deadweight price rose by 4.2p on the week to average 339.9p/kg, now 21.7p lower than the same time last year. This comes despite estimated prime slaughter rising to 32,400 head for the week. The overall steer price averaged 340.7p/kg, up 4p from last week. Those meeting R4L specification averaged…

UK sheep meat imports plummet

UK imports of sheep meat have plummeted at the beginning of 2019. Shipments fell 19% year on year in February to 4,500 tonnes, continuing the dramatically lower imports seen in January. The value of February’s imports was also down 19%, at £22 million. Last year recorded the lowest import volumes on record, so with this start to the year could we see volumes fall lower…

Global beef production increasing

The USDA has released its latest outlook for the global beef sector, Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade. During 2019, China is expected to increase its demand for beef, with imports rising by around 15%. The key suppliers of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are expected to continue supplying the majority of the beef, while Australia and New Zealand will be trying to maintain their…

Big increase in deadweight OSL price

Industry reports continue to suggest finished sheep are in short supply, which is in line with the AHDB forecast and supported by Defra March slaughter data. The recent announcement of an extension to the Brexit negotiations may offer some support to prices in the coming weeks. GB liveweight OSL SQQ continued its upward trend, increasing 5.63p to stand at 215.85p/kg for the week ended 10…

Beef production creeps up in March

UK slaughter of prime cattle totalled 165,200 head in March, up 2% month-on-month but down 2% on-the-year, according to Defra data. Average prime cattle weights continued to trend above year earlier levels, at 356.4kg. In part the increase in carcase weights could be a reflection of an increase in feed usage. Meanwhile, the number of adult cattle killed continued to be strong at 55,200 head.…

Number of lambs killed down, while ewe numbers up

Lamb slaughter continues to trend below last year, according to the latest data from Defra. This aligns with our expectations, based upon the size of the lamb crop last year. During March, 989,600 clean sheep were killed, 7% (72,900 head) down on year-earlier levels. Although, last year Easter did fall a little earlier. In total during quarter one, 216,400 head fewer lambs were killed. In…

China influencing global beef trade volumes

Global cattle prices have remained relatively steady however increased demand for beef from China has resulted in an increase in export trade amongst the major exporting countries. Fresh/frozen beef exports from Argentina have surged in the first month of 2019, up over 40% compared to the year earlier. Much of this increased demand has come from China, which is currently has African Swine Fever (ASF)…

Netherlands increases veal production as herd shrinks

Dutch beef production gathered pace in the second half of 2018, to end the year up 9%. The increase has been almost entirely driven by an increase in veal production, both traditional veal (0-8 months) and older, rose veal (8-12 months). Bovine meat production in 2018 totalled 476,000 tonnes, of which 279,000 tonnes (59%) came from calves and young cattle under 12 months of age.…

GB prime cattle prices hold steady

GB deadweight cattle prices were generally stable in the most recent week of price reporting. In the week ended 6 April, the overall prime cattle price remained unchanged at 335.7p/kg, now 24.5p lower than the same week last year. Estimated prime slaughter also remained fairly steady on the week, totalling 29,900 head. Industry reports suggest that trade is beginning to turn a corner, although Brexit…

Lamb prices spring upwards

In the week ended 3 April, the GB liveweight OSL SQQ continued its upward trajectory, increasing by nearly 9p to stand at 210.22p/kg. The quote is now 5p above the five-year average. Throughputs for the week totalled 125,000 head, up 9,600 head (8%) on last week. In the week ended 30 March, the GB deadweight OSL SQQ rose again, to average 438.20p/kg. This is a…

Marginal increase in prime cattle prices

In the week ended 30 March, the GB all prime deadweight price was up very slightly by 0.4p to 335.7p/kg though this is still lower than the price two weeks ago. It now sits 24.9p/kg lower than 12 months ago. Estimated slaughter was down just under 1,000 head on the week to 29,760. This may be an indication of farmers turning out cattle as the…