Ramadan provides boost for lamb prices

With Ramadan being celebrated from 22 March until 20 April, when the festival of Eid al-Fitr takes place, and Easter falling on 9 April this year, lamb prices are being well supported.

Hogg prices have enjoyed additional support in the past few weeks, with stronger demand compensating for a fairly feeble start to the year.

See also: Welsh red meat levy rates set to increase in April

Trade at UK auction marts has been gaining momentum, with improved demand from domestic buyers and a boosted export trade.

Smaller, well-finished lambs are consistently most in demand, but prices have lifted for all weight classes.

The GB liveweight SQQ rose by 16.7p/kg on the week to 259.3p/kg for the week ending 21 March, to put prices almost back in line with year-earlier levels.

Industry reports suggest prices have risen faster than expected, especially considering total auction market throughputs for old-season lambs were 24% higher than the previous week.

A higher finished price is pulling through into the store trade, with stores averaging £73.74 a head – up £3.55 on the previous week in England and Wales.

More spring lambs are also beginning to come forward with a strong trade of more than £3/kg liveweight in some regions.

Auction marts

Welshpool Livestock Sales sold more than 5,500 lambs on Monday, with hoggs averaging 262.5p/kg, the equivalent of almost £110 a head.

Jonathan Evans, auctioneer at Welshpool, said: “The heavier lambs are harder to sell, but the handy-weight lambs are easily sold as long as they are good meat.”

Mr Evans added that the cull ewe trade had eased a bit and was not as good as it has been.

Hogg trade at Exeter Livestock Centre on 20 March was up by 27p/kg on the week to an SQQ average of 254p/kg liveweight.

Improvements were noted across all weights and grades, especially for handier weighted hoggs.

Spring lambs at Exeter averaged £123.31 a head, with an SQQ of 304p/kg – 12p/kg higher on the week despite a much larger throughput.


Deadweight prices are struggling to keep pace with auction markets at present and prices will need to keep rising to remain competitive.

The deadweight SQQ rose by 16.1p/kg on the week to average 522.5p/kg.

Prices are currently 44p/kg lower than the same week last year, but this gap has tightened from almost 60p/kg last week.

In February, UK clean sheep slaughterings were up 12% on February 2022, according to HMRC data, with mutton and lamb production totalling 22,000t – 6% higher than the previous year.