The lamb markets have started switching season. On Monday, 19 May, 52% of lambs at GB marts were new season, with their numbers up 53%, while old season numbers were down 19% on the week.

New season numbers were 34% higher than on the same day in 2013, after better weather and expectation of a larger 2014 lamb crop, EBLEX has reported. However, this was still lower than in 2011 and 2012.

Prices improved in the week ending 20 May. The GB NSL SQQ was up 6.17p/kg to 253.70p/kg and the GB OSL SQQ rose 5.25p/kg to 212.83p/kg.

Read more on prices and trends

The latest HMRC figures showed UK sheepmeat imports in March were down 15% on the year at 10,900t and 11% lower for the first quarter of 2014.

New Zealand was shipping 23% less sheepmeat to the UK as it sends more to China, but Australia was partly filling the gap with imports from there up 83%.

Shipments from the Falkland Islands, the Netherlands and Uruguay were also higher.

Tight supplies have provided support for average global prices, which were 11% higher on the year in March, though still below 2012.