UK lamb prices challenged by increase in supply and carcase weights

UK lamb prices challenged by increase in supply and carcase weights

According to Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the traditional increase in lambs on the market at this time of year, accompanied by a lift in carcase weights, is beginning to impact on lamb prices.

Producer prices are running at around 140 p/kg lwt, approximately 10p/kg lwt (6-7%) below last year. The volume of lambs reaching the market has, notwithstanding the moving date of Muslim festivals, been running slightly ahead of figures from 2014.

Stuart Ashworth

Stuart Ashworth, QMS head of economic services.

A further feature of the current market has been an increase in carcase weights. Stuart Ashworth, QMS head of economic service commented: “During September, for example, Scottish abattoirs handled three per cent more prime lambs than last year and their carcase weights were 0.25kg heavier than last year.

“Between June and September UK abattoirs handled five per cent more lambs and five per cent fewer cull sheep than last year and produced seven per cent more sheepmeat.”

The Scottish and UK market has therefore been better supplied with sheepmeat than last year. In other parts of Europe, however, the sheepmeat market has seen volumes decline.

“Spanish slaughter volumes, for example, have been running lower than last year – a continuation of a trend that has been in play for five years. Similarly in France sheep slaughterings so far this year have been 2.5% lower than last year although in August the kill was higher than last year,” Ashworth said.

Despite the fall in production, France has imported six per cent less sheepmeat between January and July. The UK still supplied slightly more than last year, however, taking a greater share of the market.

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