Prices and Trends: Lamb prices fall

Lamb prices have dropped sharply in recent weeks, following the switch from old season to new season reporting.

But, at 411.2p/kg in the week ending 20 February, they are still considerably higher than in 2009 and 2008.

“Having reached 435.5p/kg in mid-January, in the first seven weeks of 2010 the SQQ price averaged 420p/kg, a rise of 20% compared with the corresponding period in 2009,” said the AHDB’s UK Market Survey. “Prices averaged as much as 72% more than in the first seven weeks of 2008.”

These higher prices can be mainly attributed to sharply reduced lamb throughputs both in GB and worldwide. “Sheep and lamb slaughterings in GB during January were 23% lower than in January 2009, and as much as one third lower than in January 2008,” said the report. “The trend of lower slaughterings continued into the first two weeks of February, with AHDB estimates indicating a reduction of 20% compared with a year earlier.”

Demand for lamb in France – a key export destination for British lamb – had eased this year, but prices for imported product in early February were still 15-20% higher than a year earlier.