lamb carcasses© Rex Shutterstock

Lamb prices have dropped sharply over the past week despite tight throughputs, reflecting waning demand.

The old-season R3L price dropped by 11.2p/kg in the week to 19 April to 418.8p/kg deadweight, with the SQQ down by 12.9p/kg to 414.2p/kg. Throughputs were relatively steady at 26,894 head.

This followed declines in liveweight trade in the week to 12 April, when the SQQ lost 12.2p/kg to 182.6p/kg. This was despite a 13% decline in throughputs to 95,592 head. However, liveweight values steadied in the latest week to 19 April, although throughputs fell by another 7% to 89,001 head.

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Meanwhile, the number of new-season lambs at auction continued to increase, rising by 30% in the week to 19 April to 7,536 head. Prices fell by 7% to an SQQ of 231.6p/kg.

According to a report by AHDB Beef and Lamb, imports of sheepmeat to the UK in February increased by 15% year on year, to 9,100t – the highest level for the month since 2013. Most trade was from New Zealand and Australia and average prices were 11% lower, meaning the total value of imports was up by 2%, to £36.6m.