The GB liveweight new season lamb SQQ rose by 1.2p to an average of 278.7p/kg. This put the measure 61p above the price recorded for the same week a year ago.
Throughput of new season lambs at GB auction marts was estimated to be 135,100 head, up 12% from the week before, but still 8% behind numbers recorded a year ago.
On the deadweight front, the GB SQQ enjoyed an 18p increase last week averaging 618.6p/kg. This was 140p above the price recorded during the same week a year ago. Industry reports suggest that strong demand for store lambs is benefitting finished prices.
Estimated slaughter of new season lambs stood at 236,800 head, up 2% week-on-week but down 14% from the same week a year ago.
According to the latest Defra data, 1,121,600 head of lambs came forwards during November. This is 11% fewer than a year ago and 10% down on the 5-year average. Meanwhile, ewe kill for the month was recorded at 87,300 head, down 22% on-the-year. Just under 90% of UK sheep kill takes place in England and Wales, and therefore naturally much of the decline can be attributed there.
Irish lamb prices have been on the up all year and for the first 48 weeks of this year, it has seen a 27% increase.
The lamb crop in New Zealand has increased slightly on the year, to 22.7 million head, according to Beef and Lamb NZ. Over the coming New Zealand production year, a total of 18.48 million lambs are expected to be slaughtered, up 1%. In recent years, New Zealand’s exporters have increasingly turned their attention to the large and valuable Chinese market. We expect this trend to continue next year.
Markets in the Middle East and China are paying high prices for less onerous specifications which is important for the plants due to changed working practices (Covid induced) and labour shortages. Therefore, other markets are more attractive.
Due to the changes brought about by the UK leaving the EU, importing New Zealand Lamb from the Continent is no longer economically viable meaning gaps in supply can’t be filled at short notice.
The Sterling exchange rate has dropped over the last few weeks making the costs even higher.