Lamb prices are now running at similar levels to or slightly above last year.
After a sharper-than-usual seasonal slide, the GB deadweight lamb price rose to 400.5p/kg this week – compared with 399p/kg a year ago.
The liveweight SQQ stands at 177.5p/kg, 4.8p/kg higher than in 2013.
Stuart Ashworth, Quality Meat Scotland head of economics services, said throughput in UK abattoirs was 4% up on 2013 between June and October but that the gap had closed to 1% in October.
“The difficult question is to what extent producers will increase their retention of ewe lambs for breeding and in so doing reduce the potential increase in lambs available for meat production from the 2014 lamb crop,” he said.
Mr Ashworth added that cull ewe prices have been trading about 20% above 2013 in recent weeks.
This week, the average GB price rose £2.19 to £62.87 a head. Ewe slaughterings were 12% lower on the year between June and October, which could suggest growth in breeding sheep numbers this autumn, Mr Ashworth said.