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.

Prime cattle prices softer again, but cows gain

In the week ending 19 January, overall deadweight cattle prices continued to fall, although to a lesser extent than in the previous week. The GB deadweight all-prime price average slipped by 0.6p to settle at 349.4p/kg. The measure stands 8.6p below year-earlier levels and just under 6p below the five-year average. Estimated prime cattle slaughterings appeared to begin to plateau, only increasing by 69 head…

Cows and heifers drive increased beef production in 2018

With December data in from Defra, we can now take a look at beef production for 2018 as a whole. Beef and veal production for the year totalled 922,600 tonnes, a 2% increase (+17,900 tonnes) compared to the previous year. As has been documented for much of 2018, this has been driven by increased cow and heifer slaughter. In 2018, total prime slaughterings were slightly…

UK lamb slaughterings fall back as the year comes to a close

UK clean sheep slaughtering for December was recorded at 1,184,000 head, an 8% (97,000 head) decline year on year and a 3% (42,000 head) decline on the month, according to the latest data from Defra. These figures are perhaps a little surprising, as expectations were that slaughterings were more significantly down on the year. As such, the overall new season lamb slaughterings for 2018 totalled…

Liveweight lamb market dips

The liveweight lamb trade has dropped a little in the past week, reversing the upward movement recorded in the previous seven days. In the week ended 16 January the GB SQQ fell by nearly 4p to 193.83p/kg. This meant the gap compared to the previous year fell back to 11p, similar to two weeks ago, as the price this time last year remained stable week-on-week.…

Frozen beef imports continue in November

The UK imported 24,600 tonnes of fresh/frozen beef in November, 6% lower year on year and around 1,000 tonnes less than in October. Imports from Ireland were 18,600 tonnes, 1% higher than last November and constituted 75% of total imports, up from 70% a year ago. This increase in market share was also due to drops in volumes from other markets. Imports from Poland were…

UK sheep meat exports remain positive in November

The UK sheep meat net trade position (exports minus import) was positive during November, at 3,692 tonnes. Higher exports and reduced imports has put the balance nearly 60% higher than the same month in 2017. According to HMRC, UK sheep meat exports for November 2018 stood at 8,450 tonnes, an 8% (600 tonnes) increase on year-on-year. Meanwhile, UK imports were recorded at 4,750 tonnes, 14%…

Turkish beef imports increase amid rising inflation

Since mid-2018, the Turkish government has been employing various strategies to curb rising inflation in the country, including red meat price inflation. Since then Turkish imports of both fresh/frozen beef as well as live imports have been picking up. Total fresh/frozen beef imports increased dramatically in 2018 in the year to September, up 279% (+27,000 tonnes) to total 37,000 tonnes, based on a collation of…

Falling UK sheep meat production limiting EU total last year

Overall, production of sheep meat in the EU-28 started strongly in 2018. However this did not continue through the latter half of the year, according to Eurostat data. This reflects developments in the UK, the only major sheep meat producing country to record a decline, with production down 4% (-8,900 tonnes) year-on-year between January and October. The UK accounts for around 40% of EU-28 production…

Cattle prices continue to slide in the New Year

In the week ending 12 January, cattle trade took a downwards turn nearly across the board. The GB deadweight all price average slipped by 2.5p, to stand at 349.9p/kg. The measure stands almost 11p below year earlier levels and nearly 7p behind the five year average. Estimated prime cattle slaughterings lifted significantly on the week, by 10,600 head, as production ramps up following the festive period. At…

Feed production continues to increase as autumn turns to winter

During the late summer and autumn of 2018, production of cattle and sheep feed increased on year earlier levels, according to AHDB data. This is the second consecutive year of sharp annual increases in feed production recorded at this time. Not only has more feed been produced, but the Defra agricultural price index shows that farmers were also paying a higher per tonne price in…

Lamb prices continue to shoot upwards

During the week ending 9 January, the GB liveweight OSL SQQ gained 4.3p week-on-week, to stand at 197.59p/kg. Compared to the five year average the quote stands almost 19p higher, as well as being almost 15p above the same week last year. Auction market throughputs for the week totalled 112,172 head, up 5% year-on-year. In the week ended 5 January, the GB deadweight OSL SQQ…

New country focus reports released by AHDB

Valuable insight into how the UK can grow its meat and dairy exports in key markets has been revealed in three new reports – launched recently at the Oxford Farming Conference. The new ‘Country Focus Reports’ focusing on China, the USA and Japan, provide a topline look at consumer eating habits and buying behaviour in these key target markets. In 2017, the work of the…