September lamb prices decline

September lamb prices decline

A combination of increased lamb throughput and subdued consumer demand has meant that lamb prices have decreased over the last month.

Welsh Lamb

The Welsh SQQ in the last week of September averaged 149p/kg, which was down from 163p/kg at the end of August. At the same time, prices for Welsh cull ewes fell to the lowest point seen in 2014, declining to £42 per head by week ending 27th September.

“This downwards course is a reflection of the general seasonal trend that can be seen most years,” said John Richards, industry information executive at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

“It is notable, however, that the fall in prices has been steeper than in previous years and the weather is one of the key reasons for this decline.

“The conditions have been perfect for rearing a greater lamb crop, and a plentiful supply of grass has meant that they are being finished quicker than usual.”

An additional 250,000 lambs were marketed at UK abattoirs between May and August this year, which is seven per cent higher than the same period in 2013. Heavier lambs have also been entering the market with consistently higher monthly carcase weights when compared to last year.

This combination of increased throughputs and heavier lambs meant that prime lamb production was up by eight per cent during the months of May to August.

“This comes at a time when consumption of lamb has been subdued,” added Mr Richards. “The latest Kantar Worldpanel results have shown that the total volume of lamb purchased at GB retailers was down by nearly five per cent in the 12 weeks leading up to 17th August 2014.”

HCC have responded to the situation by instigating a promotional campaign for Welsh Lamb in August, which was earlier than its planned start date.

“We decided to bring the promotional campaign forward so as to raise consumer awareness of the quality of new season Welsh Lamb,” said Gwyn Howells, HCC’s chief executive.

“Welsh Lamb is in abundance at this time of year. We will strive to encourage consumers to purchase the varied cuts that are easily available in the shops by promoting the product on television, billboards and online. Promotional material was recently distributed to HCC’s Butchers Club members too.”

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