Lamb market monthly update: December 2023

Thursday, 25 January 2024


The GB NSL liveweight SQQ measure for December sat an average price of 268.6p/kg. The month began at a price of 260.1p, before strengthening throughout December to a final price of 287.9p for the week ending 30 December 2023.

The GB NSL deadweight SQQ averaged 587.1p/kg in December. For the first week of December prices started at 585.8p, they then declined into the middle of the month, dropping by 1.5p for the week ending 23 December. They then once again gained some ground, reaching a final price of 598.4p.

Cull ewe prices strengthened throughout the month, averaging £84.32 per head for December.

Input costs

Fertiliser costs remained below last year’s levels in December, signifying the third month on month drop. However, remains elevated above December 2020 prices, influenced by increased natural gas prices and unrest in the Middle East. Fuel prices also fell once again into December, sitting below rates seen in December 2022.


Sheep meat production fell marginally from November into December by 1%, to reach a total of 25,600 tonnes. Annually sheep production in down, with a year-on-year drop of 8% in for the final month of 2023. Clean sheep slaughter in December totalled 1.14m head, the lowest December kill seen since 2019.


UK fresh and frozen sheep meat imports grew month on month by 23% in November to 4,241 tonnes. In comparison to rates in November 2022 volumes almost doubled, increasing by 2,100 tonnes. Growing imports from Australia and New Zealand are responsible for a large proportion of this.

Exports grew by 7% month-on-month to a total of 8,020 tonnes in November, as well as 14% year-on-year. With growing demand from the EU, shipments of UK sheep meat have risen in November.

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