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Meat Report

Meat Market Report May 2022

Food and drink supply markets have been hit by widespread distribution problems and a spike in demand following the return of out-of-home eating and drinking. On top of this, the war in Ukraine has had adverse effects on imports and exports to the UK and the rest of Europe.

Beef

GB deadweight cattle prices have continued to rise, building on already record prices. This puts the measure up over 30p compared to a year ago and 72p above the five-year average.

GP all prime average deadweight cattle price

Why are prices rising?
Labour, along with many other costs (including energy) have been rising for some months, only made worse by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The conflict has also sent feed grain prices, which were also already high, even higher.

Lamb

Liveweight lamb prices increased again although auction market throughputs were 19% more than during the same period last year when numbers were on the tight side following the UK’s departure from the EU. On the other hand, deadweight lamb prices were steady to slightly weaker towards the end of March.

Estimated slaughter was slightly stronger again, 21% higher than the same period a year ago, again showing relatively good availability. The combination of Easter and Ramadan in April, both traditionally featuring lamb on the menu, will increase demand.

GP liveweight old season lamb SQQ

Pork

UK ex-farm feed wheat and feed barley prices have risen sharply over March, following gains in the UK feed wheat futures.

UK prices follow global price rises, rising in response to the war between Russia and Ukraine. The market is concerned about global grain availability. This season, Russia and Ukraine were set to account for 29% of the global wheat trade.

The EU Spec SPP (Standard Pig Price) has risen to and is now above the 5-year average for this time of year by 2p.

Estimated slaughter also rose, indicating that we are gradually processing the backlog of pigs, although average weights are currently over 5kg heavier than this time last year (meaning pigs have been kept on the farm longer).

Energy and feed prices have continued to rise and pig prices have failed to keep pace with the situation, leading to greater losses. Continued (sometimes regionally related) backlogs of pigs on farms, low pig prices compared to the cost of production, and increasing input prices, are resulting in very difficult decisions for many pig producers due to their need to continue managing their business risks and their business cashflow.

Some producers have already decided to either significantly reduce stock or stop pig production. This will be driven by the individual farm situation and resources, including the significance of pig production at a total farm level and whether they have other enterprises or diversification. This could lead to short or long-term supply issues for UK-produced pork.

GP finished pig prices

Poultry

Again, the war in Ukraine means we have seen dramatic price increases and shortages throughout the poultry sector. There are many factors as to why there have been increases and shortages. Firstly, Ukraine and Russia supply around 30% of the World’s wheat and grain exports, which has seen over a 30% increase in cost.

EU poultry production has been under pressure of late due to the Bird Flu outbreak towards the end of last year. Millions of birds were subsequently culled, and supply has been tight while producers look to replenish their stocks. The Polish Government have now reduced the exports of poultry, in favour of keeping what they have internal for dispersal amongst their own population as well as the new refugees. Russia normally exports poultry to developing world countries, which has now ceased. These countries are now looking to Europe for supply, and that is leading to more pressure and additional strain on European and the rest of the World markets for poultry. The Netherlands relied heavily on Ukraine for poultry products which are now no longer available. Poland is the largest poultry exporter to the UK, accounting for 20% of all UK poultry imports.

Poultry was on weekly pricing but that has now changed to daily pricing. Due to the lack of imports, pressure is now firmly placed on the UK market.

Poultry Products – Price Update

While we continue to hold prices for 30 days for our customers, we are now seeing poultry wholesalers moving from weekly pricing to daily pricing, which reflects the volatility currently witnessed in the market. Due to the lack of imports, pressure is now firmly placed on the UK market. We hope for a change soon and we will continue to keep you updated.