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.

GB calf registrations down in 2018

In 2018, registrations of GB cattle births were down by around 50,000 head (-2%) compared to 2017 and totalled 2.65 million calves according to data from the British Cattle Movement Service. The largest declines came from dairy males, down 22,500 head (-7%). However lower registrations were recorded across both dairy and beef calves of both sexes. The bad weather on farm at the start of…

Falling cow slaughter limits January beef production

UK beef and veal production in January 2019 totalled 80,000 tonnes, 1% lower than the same month last year. Lower adult cattle throughputs drove the decline, as prime slaughterings were similar to last year and heavier carcase weights were recorded. The slaughter pattern was broadly in line with expectations in the latest AHDB forecast. Prime cattle slaughterings for January 2019 totalled 170,000 head, a similar…

Lamb production falls in January, despite rising carcase weights

UK clean sheep slaughterings for January were reported at 1,035,000 head, a 7% (- 77,200 head) drop year-on-year, according to the latest data from Defra. This is broadly in line with the 10% year-on-year decline anticipated across Q1 in the latest sheep forecast from AHDB. The lower level of slaughtering seen this season is an ongoing result of the smaller total lamb crop last year.…

Lamb prices lower again

The GB average liveweight lamb price has fallen for the third week in a row. In the week ending 13 February, the GB liveweight OSL SQQ slipped by almost 3p on the week to 192.60p/kg. This is significantly lower than last year’s price (-13.7p), but still a little above the 5 year average. Auction market throughputs saw a slight increase on the week, but remain…

Netherlands beef production gains traction

Dutch beef production was lower year-on-year in the first six months of 2018. However production ramped up in the second half of the year and is now 6% higher in the year to November. Dutch production was lower in the first half of the year due to high cow slaughterings in early 2017. However increased calf slaughterings, and higher cow throughputs throughout the summer, subsequently…

US beef exports continue to rise

US agricultural data has been thin on the ground of late, due to the recent government shutdown. The temporary re-opening of federal offices - which is set to continue until 15 February - has allowed the release of selected data up until November 2018. US exports of fresh/frozen beef between Jan-Nov 2018 were up 11% (+94,000 tonnes) compared to 2017, totalling nearly 929,000 tonnes for…

Cattle prices hold steady

In the week ending 9 February overall deadweight prime cattle prices were identical to the week before. Averaging 348.9p/kg, the GB all-prime average sits around 6p below 2018 levels and just shy of 3p below the 5 year average. The price was falling quicker at the same time of 2018 and so the price has been steadily gaining ground on both year earlier and 5…

British beef and lamb: Big in Japan?

The UK had a successful year in 2018 for building global exports. China lifted its ban on British beef, Taiwan agreed to receive UK pork and India is preparing to import UK sheep meat. Adding to this is the most recent success story with Japan, which on 10 January agreed to open its market to British beef and lamb. This ends the 20-year Japanese ban…

Lamb prices slip below last year’s levels

For the first time since early November the GB average liveweight lamb price is below year earlier levels; last February marked the start of a rapid increase in lamb prices due to a change in market dynamics. In the week ended 6 February, the GB liveweight OSL SQQ slipped by almost 4p year-on-year, to 195.22p/kg. Compared to year earlier levels the quote is 4.21p lower,…

Australian lamb slaughter in 2019 expected to be the lowest since 2012

Unfavourable weather conditions during 2018 are expected to have a significant impact on the sheep meat supply in Australia during 2019, according to the latest outlook from Meat Livestock Australia (MLA). The extremely dry conditions led to a 27% increase sheep slaughter, a producers looked to reduce stocking rates and managed feed costs. As a result, the national sheep flock is estimated to have contracted…

Prime cattle prices slip again on lower numbers

Overall deadweight prime cattle prices fell in the week ending 2 February, with prices falling overall for each category, steers, heifers and young bulls, as throughputs fell week-on-week. The GB deadweight all-prime average fell by just over a penny to settle at 348.9p/kg, the measure continuing to be down around 8p on year-earlier levels. Estimated prime cattle slaughter for the week fell by 2,000 to…

AHDB reviews the outlook for the sheep sector

In October AHDB published its latest forecasts for the cattle and sheep sectors; three months on, these forecasts have been reviewed. Overall, sheep meat production is forecast to decline slightly during 2019, to 286,000 tonnes. This is largely driven by a reduction in the number of old season lambs carried over, although with an increase in cull ewe slaughterings. The timing of lambs coming forwards…