Lamb prices have risen sharply, with the average R3L grade up by almost 9p/kg, to 408.6p/kg in the week to 1 February. That was 70.6p/kg higher than the same time last year, with tightened supplies behind the uplift, according to a report by EBLEX.

However, the recent increase in liveweight prices had stalled, with the SQQ average losing 0.4p/kg in the week to 4 February, to 185.6p/kg. This was still 6.1p/kg higher than a fortnight earlier, and 32.4p ahead of the same time last year.

Cull ewe values increased by £2.77 on the week, to £53.56 a head liveweight, partly due to a 6% drop in throughputs, to 31,395 head.

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Meanwhile the expected slowdown in UK sheepmeat imports continued during November, with volumes falling 22% on the year, to 5,500t.

“This follows the 33% fall in volumes during October,” said the report. “This drop is the result of lower supplies in New Zealand and the continued growth in shipments of New Zealand sheep meat to China.”

Tighter supplies had boosted average import prices by 14%, year-on-year, to average £4,200/t, it added.