Pressure on livestock prices, caused by this summer’s foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks, looks set to continue throughout this autumn into 2008, as processors struggle to cope with a backlog of stock, says the English Beef & Lamb Executive.
Average prices for prime lambs struggled to reach 75p/kg in Scottish and English marts last week.
EBLEX estimates a backlog of up to 400,000 prime sheep and nearly 20,000 finished cattle have been affected by FMD and bluetongue movement restrictions.
Coupled with this, the lamb carcase weights have been 4% heavier than the same time last year.
In the first three weeks of October the Meat and Livestock Commission’s average liveweight price stuck at just 80p/kg, nearly 30% down on the same time last year. Deadweight prices too a major hit, too, levelling at only 207p/kg.
Prime cattle prices in England and Wales have remained relatively stable, but while slaughterings may rise as disease prevention restrictions continue to ease, traders hope the seasonal rise in beef values will be sufficient to offset this.