Lamb market monthly update - September 2023

Wednesday, 25 October 2023


The liveweight NSL SQQ averaged 251.1p/kg in September, down by just over 8p since August. However, it has remained above 2022 levels. The deadweight NSL SQQ  averaged 549.7p/kg in the week ending 9 September. Prices peaked at 553.1p/kg towards the middle of the month before easing to 549.7p/kg. The monthly average was still up 25p against September 2022.

As seen in August, cull ewe prices eased again in September 2023 to average £74.70/head for the month. This was still up £1.70 on the average price seen a year ago.


Fuel prices have been climbing steadily over the last quarter, driven by price support in wider oil markets. Marginal monthly increases were also seen in fertiliser prices between August and September. Looking forward, any rises in natural gas prices in the months ahead are likely to translate into higher nitrogen fertiliser and fuel prices.

The latest Agricultural Price Index (API) shows that the rate of inflation in prices paid for goods and services has continued to ease. All key input costs are significantly down compared to last year, where they were inflated to historic highs relating to the war in Ukraine.

Production and trade

UK sheep meat production for September 2023 totalled 22,700 tonnes, declining by 7% since August. This fall has been driven by a decrease in slaughterings, sitting at 994,000 head for the month. Carcase weights had little impact on production averaging 19.6p/g, similar to August figures.

In terms of trade, August sheep meat import volumes were higher than 2022 rates for the first time this year. Increased amounts of sheep meat have been imported from New Zealand and Australia, where prices are extremely competitive. Meanwhile, export levels have risen by 21% since last month to 6,400 tonnes, also sitting above last year's export levels by 8%.

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