Liveweight sheep prices are likely to remain subdued into 2015 due to a combination of weak demand, plentiful supplies, and increasing numbers of out-of-spec animals.

According to a report by Eblex, prime slaughterings increased by 1%, to 1.07m head in August, compared with last year, while average carcass weights were up by 2% to 19.1kg due to better food availability and weather.

“There is no question that supply is outstripping demand at the moment, not just here but on export markets, too,” said Eblex sector director Nick Allen.

“There is always a seasonal drop in price as we hit peak supply levels in October, but this year sheep numbers are higher and they are coming on to the market sooner,” he said.

Since mid-April, liveweight SQQ prices had dropped by about 113p/kg, reaching a low of 149.2p/kg last week. Although this week’s Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha helped prices to recover to 155.4p/kg this week, supplies were set to remain high, added Mr Allen.

Slaughterings in September were estimated to be up by 3% on the year, with increased carcass weights suggesting more were being slaughtered out of spec.