Finished prices drop back as more spring lambs come to market

Larger numbers of new-season lambs have started to come forward at auction markets, putting pressure on finished prices.

The new-season lamb liveweight SQQ averaged 292.65p/kg for the week ending 11 July, down 1.36p/kg liveweight on the previous week.

Throughputs of new-season lambs at auction marts were up 45% on the week with more than 100,000 lambs being sold.

See also: Outlook for sheepmeat values hangs in the balance

Auctioneers say trade has started to fall back in July as expected, in line with the same period last year, with higher throughputs and less export demand both limiting prices.

Prime lambs averaged £113.61 a head (278.3p/kg liveweight) at Welshpool Livestock Sales on Monday 10 July.

Trade was reportedly slower overall in line with national trends. Well-finished lambs were still able to find better demand for both retail and export markets, but leaner, lightweight lambs had less interest from buyers.

Longtown Mart had a large entry of lambs on Thursday 6 July, with nearly 2,650 spring lambs being sold. Despite the higher throughput, trade was up, with an average liveweight SQQ of 317.7p/kg.


Deadweight prices fell by almost 30p/kg on the week, with the GB new-season lamb SQQ averaging 617.1p/kg deadweight for the week ending 8 July.

Finished prices have fallen by 126p/kg deadweight overall since peaking in mid-May and are currently 28.8p/kg deadweight lower than the same week last year.

Gordon McWhirter, livestock marketing specialist at Meadow Quality, said trade had been hard to track and was very area dependent, with some abattoirs full while others had space.

Consumer demand for red meat

The average retail price of lamb has increased by 9.3% to £10.42/kg for the 52 weeks ending 11 June, according to Kanter data.

This higher price point has led to a decrease in the volume of lamb purchased on the year.

Glesni Phillips, data analyst at Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales), said: “The cost-of-living crisis will continue to pressure consumers, however the year-on-year declines seen in retail purchases is slowing.”