Lamb market monthly update - August 2023

Thursday, 21 September 2023


The liveweight SQQ was just over 259p/kg for the month of August, down from July. Prices peaked to almost 270p in the week ending 12 August, before stabilising in subsequent weeks. Cull ewe prices saw a fall on the month to £83. Store prices have benefitted from good grass growth in recent weeks. The deadweight SQQ measure showed similar changes, sitting at 570p/kg for August, down from July. Prices peaked in the week ending 19 August to nearly 581p, but fell in subsequent weeks.


Input costs remain elevated, as fuel and fertiliser costs have increased throughout August. Growth in natural gas prices has driven the rising fuel and fertiliser costs, which could continue to grow into winter. Feed wheat prices have fallen from the historic highs of the previous 18-months, but continue to follow global markets, with small movements throughout the month.

All key inputs are however down on last year, where they stood at historic highs in the fall out of the war in Ukraine.

Production and trade

Sheep meat production for August sat at 24,000 tonnes, with growth on the month due to higher slaughter levels. Slaughter sat 12% higher than July’s levels, boosting overall production, as carcase weights remained stable. Production is up 3% compared to August last year, as clean sheep slaughter grew 2%, and carcase weights are stable.

Looking into trade, imports grew slightly to 5,200 tonnes from June levels but fell slightly from last year. Imports remain supressed in the year-to-date (Jan – Jul), down almost a third from the same period in 2022. Exports of sheep meat totalled 5,300 tonnes, down 1,500 tonnes from June, as fewer shipments went to the EU 27. However, looking at year to date, exports are up 4,500 tonnes from last year, with growth to France and Germany.

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