New season lamb price slips as numbers rise

Lamb prices have eased this week, as numbers of new season lambs sold at auction markets continue to rise.

Although the switch in reporting old season to new season prices means the deadweight SQQ for an R3L grade jumped from 532.7p/kg last week to 555p/kg this week, actual new season prices fell from a record average of 561.3p/kg to 559.2p/kg over the same period.

A 35% surge in numbers forward at auction caused new season liveweight prices to drop by 10p/kg in the week to 24 May, following a 13p/kg drop last week. That put the average liveweight SQQ price at 254.6p/kg.

Export trade is continuing to support lamb markets, according to AHDB Meat Services – but domestic consumption is still sliding. Analyst Kantar Worldpanel says purchases of fresh and frozen lamb totalled 17,000t in the 12 weeks to 17 April – almost one-third down on a year ago, partly due to the late Easter. “This continues to be the result of low availability and high prices; retail prices over the period were 22% higher year on year,” says AHDB’s latest report. “Overall expenditure was down 16% to £139m.”


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