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.

UK beef production decreases due to lower cull throughput

In July, 75,500 tonnes of beef was produced in the UK, according to the latest Defra data. This is a 1% decrease in production from the same month last year. The reduction is due to the lower throughput of cull cattle. Prime cattle slaughter also fell 1% over the same period to 161,700 head. This is slightly higher than the 3% decline forecast in the…

UK sheep meat production surging

July headline stats Lamb slaughter: 1.09 million head up 5.7% year on year Ewe and ram slaughter: 147,900 head up 12.6% year on year Sheep meat production: 25,200 tonnes up 9.9% year on year   Better weather in the first half of the year has benefitted lamb growth rates, bringing many to finish more quickly than in previous years. The UK avoided drought temperatures similar…

Week of two halves for liveweight lamb prices

It was a week of two halves for liveweight lamb prices this week, with the Muslim festival of Eid-Al-Adha drawing a clear line in the sand. Before Eid, prices were steady week-on-week, before declining sharply afterwards. During the week ending 14 August the GB liveweight NSL SQQ recorded an overall decline of 8.5p, to 177.76p/kg. Auction market throughputs for the week totalled 115,855 head. Commentary…

China beefs up protein imports

Since the discovery of ASF last year in its pig herd, China’s demand for imported protein has surged. Imports of red meat and poultry, including offals, have increased by almost 550,000 tonnes in the first half of 2019 alone, according to official Chinese data. Imports now total 2.6 million tonnes. Beef has recorded the largest increase on a volume basis, by over 240,000 tonnes, to…

Where in the sheep year will the UK be at the end of October?

Most analysis previously carried out on the impact of various Brexit scenarios for the sheep industry were based upon annual data and were looking a few years into the future. Therefore, almost all of the conclusions continue to stand as annual summaries. Leaving the EU in autumn, does however bring some particular challenges for the UK sheep sector.  The differences between a spring and autumn…

US sheep meat imports remain up

The US has consistently increased imports of sheep meat over recent years, and 2019 is no different. Imports surged ahead in April, with the majority of increases coming from Australia, which has tariff-free access to the states. Trade has since tempered a little but imports are still up 3% in the first half of 2019 compared to the year earlier. The rise in imports this…

Mixed movements on deadweight cattle markets

There were mixed movements on deadweight cattle markets in the week ending 10 August. The GB all prime average increased by 0.2p to 325.4p/kg. This comes after 11 consecutive weeks of price declines. Despite the increase, the most recent price is 22p below the 5-year average. However, price movements between categories were more varied. GB deadweight prices and weekly changes for the week ending 10…

Lamb retail sales positive with mixed performance for beef

Overall GB pig meat* sales volumes fell almost 5% year-on-year in the 12 weeks ending 14 July, according to the latest Kantar data. The drop in value was slightly larger, due to a small decline in average retail prices. Total beef sales were back just over 2%, despite an increase in primary beef sales. Conversely, total lamb volumes increased by 6%, which is especially positive…

Oilseed rape cake demand likely to grow as domestic animal feed protein source tightens

As traceability, sustainability and possible trade flow issues mount, the supply of domestically sourced animal feed protein is becoming increasingly important. However, due to factors ranging from agronomic to political, domestic supply is set to tighten. Demand for oilseed rape cake is seasonal, with usage peaks in November for the winter months, and again in February. Demand for soya on the other hand, is much…

Dutch beef production sees first declines since 2015

Since the implementation of environmental sanctions on The Netherlands in 2015, herd numbers have steadily declined. These sanctions came as a result of repeated exceeding of EU pasture phosphate limits. Farmers were offered financial subsidies to reduce herd numbers, and it seems to have had a large effect. Beef production rose in the following three years after the ruling, although the percentage increases became smaller…

Global sheep meat market continues to tighten

Farmgate prices in New Zealand have been on an upwards path in recent months, but the price rises in Australia have been exceptional. Such a large difference between them may prove unsustainable as New Zealand and Australia often compete against each other. In the most recent weeks, there appears to be the beginning of an adjustment in price levels to bring them back to a…

Beef calf registrations aim to recover last year’s losses

The latest British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) data highlights the effects of the summer drought on cattle populations. Registrations of beef animals increased 6,000 head (0.6%), to total 1.05 million head for the first five months of this year. Last year was difficult for producers, with higher on-farm mortality rates. Higher registrations will help herd replacements following a higher cow kill too. There were decreases…