Lamb prices have continued their seasonal decline, with auction values dropping by almost 6p/kg in the week to 2 October.
At 155.9p/kg liveweight, the average price was 5.8p/kg below last week and the same week last year. Deadweight trade was also weaker, easing by 7.5p/kg to 381.3p/kg - 3.1p more than last year.
"Lamb slaughterings in August were 5% down on year earlier levels, with lower carcass weights indicating that there have been some difficulties in finishing lambs due to the poor weather," said a report by EBLEX. "Overall production was down in line with the fall in both adult sheep and lamb slaughterings."
However, Defra's June census confirmed that English producers were rapidly rebuilding flocks, with a 4.3% increase in breeding ewe numbers over the past year, to 6.55m head. This was in stark contrast to continental Europe, where flock sizes continued to decline, said the EBLEX report. "With France the main market for UK sheepmeat, by a large margin, the decline in the productive capacity of the French flock may result in increased requirement for UK product in the future, assuming consumption remains firm."