Weekly cattle & sheep market wrap – 07 March 2024

Thursday, 7 March 2024

Key points:

Prices for week ending 02 March 2024

  • The GB deadweight lamb SQQ continues to rise, up 22p to 722p/kg, with a large fall in numbers on the week and key demand drivers on the horizon.
  • The GB deadweight overall steer price remains firm standing at 498p/kg, with prices up marginally and estimated kill numbers tightening on the week. Reports suggest a good supply of prime animals currently coming forward, supported by the latest BCMS population figures.
  • Cow prices continue to increase as numbers tighten in line with seasonal trends. The overall cow price sat at 349p/kg for the week ending 2 March.


Deadweight cattle prices remain stable, with a slight reduction in throughputs for the week ending 2 March. R4L steers saw some of the largest price movements, up 2p on the week to 507p/kg. Looking to cows, the GB deadweight overall cow price stood at 349p/kg, up 1.5p on the week.

Some small market corrections appear to be occurring in regional categories, with the northern region steer and young bull prices dropping when compared to the previous week. Meanwhile for cows, all regions saw price declines except for the northern region, which saw a 4.4p uplift in prices, driving the overall average price trend for the week.

Estimated prime kills for the last week suggest a marginal drop when compared to the previous week (back 400 head). However, when comparing year to date, these last few weeks have pushed the GB kill higher than 2023, up by 0.8%.  Reports suggest that supplies are currently meeting demand, with BCMS data suggesting slightly higher numbers of prime animals available, particularly through H1 2024.


The GB deadweight sheep prices have continued to move higher. In the week ending the 2 March the overall OSL price averaged 722p/kg, increasing by 22p on the week. The price is now sitting 217p above year earlier figures, a 43% increase. Domestic lamb numbers remain lower on the year but have seen a marked change; AHDB’s estimated slaughter was back 17% on the week and 12% on the same week in 2023.

Anecdotally, the export market continues to support the market trade, with a noticeable pickup in demand reported in recent days, as we approach key religious festivals. Recent price increases reported through Rungis wholesale market, would support the trend. Domestically, the market focus remains on key demand events including Ramadan starting around the 10th of March, alongside an early Easter at the end of the month and Eid Al-Fitr landing early April.

We await to see the latest official HMRC import data, released next week, however with global price disparities currently very large, this remains a key watch point. There remain reports of some disruption to trade flows, adding cost and offering some potential mitigation to quantities of southern hemisphere product currently available on the domestic marketplace.