By FWi staff

LAMB prices continue to surge onwards and upwards with the SQQ – the average market lamb price – closing on Monday at nearly 111p/kg.

The weekly average for the first week of trading in January ended at 108p/kg, nearly 46p/kg above levels in the same week in 1999 when prices were rock bottom.

In fact, lamb values have not been so high at this time since the UKs own beef crisis in 1997 sent the home meat market in to disarray and the SQQ spiralling up to 140p/kg.

Such unprecedented highs are unlikely to be seen this time, but the future looks brighter, market commentators agree.

December bucked the monthly year-on-year downward trend on export numbers seen in 2000.

Levels rose by 300t to 9000t, says the Meat and Livestock Commission. And all evidence suggests January has continued in the same fashion.

David Owen, of lamb exporter Farmers First, says exports are reasonably strong as long as scare stories remain out of the public domain.

“We are getting positive feedback and the strength of the Pound is easing a bit as well.

“British retailers wouldnt be paying the prices they are, if there wasnt some pressure in the market,” he adds.

Even the hard-hit light-lamb trade has picked up, says Mr Owen.

“Everything has firmed right across the board. We dont want stupid high prices, just for the market to rebuild steadily,” he cautions.

farmersfield.co.uk