AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly
28 October 2014
Some Signs of Stability in the Lamb Trade
For another week the lamb trade has demonstrated some signs of stability, with the SQQ at GB auction markets in week ended 22 October tracking above the previous week. At 155.0p/kg, the weekly GB NSL SQQ edged up over 2p/kg on the week earlier. With somewhere in the region of 120,000 lambs penned nationally, this represented a drop of 6% on the previous week. This could be one of the key drivers behind the stability in the trade, amid reports suggesting that demand was a little subdued.
While the greatest week-on-week price change was on Wednesday 22 October, when the SQQ was up 4p/kg, the top price of the week was achieved on Monday 20 October when the SQQ reached 156.5p/kg on the back of a 14% fall in throughputs.
Lamb Slaughterings Remain Ahead of 2013 Levels
Further confirming the expectations of a larger lamb crop and better finishing conditions, the UK lamb kill for September was again ahead of year earlier levels, being 1% up on the year at 1.12 million head. Despite not showing the same year-on-year increase as at the start of the season, the uplift in September represented the sixth consecutive month in which throughputs were up on the year.
Consequently, in the June to September period, lamb slaughterings were up nearly 5%, or 191,000 head, on year earlier levels. With lower throughputs in the first quarter of the year, this means that in the year to date, lamb throughputs were up 2% on the year at 8.98 million head. Following last year’s elevated kill number, UK adult sheep slaughterings during 2014 have been lower year on year and throughputs in September were back 8% to 153,100 head. This takes the adult kill in 2014 so far to 1.35 million head, back 10% year on year. This year producers have not been dealing with inflated feed costs so, unlike in 2013, there has been less impetus to reduce breeding flocks sizes.
On the back of more favourable weather conditions, lamb carcases were 2% higher in September, compared with the same month in 2013 at 19.2kg. Adult carcases were also heavier, albeit only by 1%, at 25.8kg. Overall sheep meat production was up 1% on the year at 25,400 tonnes, as the reduced adult sheep kill offset the higher carcase weights and more lambs were being slaughtered. Production in the year to date is now up 3%, or 6,000 tonnes, on the year.
Date for AHDB Outlook Conference 2015
The 2015 Outlook conference, jointly hosted by EBLEX, DairyCo and BPEX, will be held at One Great George Street, in London, on Wednesday 11 February 2015. The conference will look at future consumer trends and the impact on demand for dairy and meat products in changing Asian markets.
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