Prime lamb prices continue their seasonal decline, with the deadweight SQQ dropping by 23.1p/kg in the week to 18 June.
However, that is still 17% higher than the same time last year, and the tight global market means the outlook remains firm, according to the latest UK Market Survey from AHDB Meat Services.
Increased numbers of lambs forward at auctions is putting pressure on liveweight prices, but they remain well above last year’s levels, along with cull ewe prices. “Demand [for cull ewes in the week to 15 June] is reported to be strong, with continentals in particular continuing to achieve more than £100 a head.”
Higher prices are eroding consumer demand, with latest data from analyst Kantar Worldpanel revealing that sales fell by a quarter in the 12 weeks to 15 May, compared to the same time last year. “In part, this decline could be the result of lower availability on the domestic market, as imports were considerably lower year-on-year and exports remained buoyant,” says the AHDB report. However, record farmgate prices meant retail values were 20% up on the year, contributing an 11% fall in expenditure on fresh and frozen lamb, to £144 million.