Lamb prices had a very mixed week with sharp declines in live markets at the start, followed by increases which helped stocks regain ground.
AHDB figures for the week ending June 30 showed that the SQQ of British liveweight new-season lamb fell 7.19 pence on the week, to 248.62 p / kg, despite a drop of 18% of the number.
In Thursday’s markets across the UK, the SQQ average rallied to 257.63 p / kg, up 23 p / kg on throughput almost a third greater than on the same day last week.
This follows a sharp drop in deadweight prices for the week through June 26, which were down 47.3 p / kg, at 587.2 p / kg, but still 116 p / kg above levels from a year ago.
AHDB analyst Rebecca Wright said UK farm gate prices are currently above the French equivalent, which is very likely to limit export volumes.
However, sales ahead of the Islamic holiday of Eid-Al-Adha – which begins July 19 – oppose any easing of the French situation and support British values, Ms. Wright said.
Demand is supported by family meals during the season, with lamb as a favorite. In addition, older lambs are offered as a sacrifice, she explained.
Gordon McWhirter, ruminant livestock specialist at Meadow Quality, said the lack of throughput has been key to stabilizing prices.
He reported that values had dropped from 80 to 100 p / kg deadweight earlier this week, pushing prices down to £ 5 / kg.
“Lately we’ve seen a lot of smaller lambs coming up for sale as farmers take advantage of the high prices.
“The sudden drop in prices forced the farms to decide to keep their stocks to finish them more and bring them to higher weights.”
In Scotland, Farmstock operations manager Jonny Williams reported the same drop in throughput.
But it wasn’t just the deterrence from falling prices that kept farmers away from the market, Williams said.
“The better weather allowed many farms to silage north of the border. This has combined with the start of school holidays as farmers delay marketing the lamb, ”he said.
Prices had followed the pattern seen elsewhere, with drops from around 50p / kg to 500p / kg at the start of this week. By July 1, prices had recovered from 30 to 40 pence / kg to around 540 pence / kg.
He predicted that prices would hold steady at 520p / kg 540p / kg next week.
But he expected greater numbers as more volatile weather conditions were forecast for the north.
Farmers will enter the herds this weekend and the extra throughput could be a test of the market, Hall said.
Disadvantage of farmers in Northern Ireland
Meanwhile, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has expressed frustration with falling prices and urged farmers to push buyers for fair prices.
UFU Beef and Lamb President Pat McKay said: “Last week the average lamb price was £ 5.31 / kg and down to £ 4.80 / kg this week seems unreasonable.
“The UK price is well above NI values, seriously disadvantaging local farmers.
“We expected the lamb trade to remain strong as the Eid festival is due to start in mid-July.
“In the future, we ask farmers to sell hard in the ring and when negotiating directly with processors. “
UFU plans to meet with sheep processors over the next few weeks to discuss current sheep prices.