Weekly cattle & sheep market wrap – 20 June 2024

Thursday, 20 June 2024

Prices for the week ending 15 June 2024.

Key Points

  • GB deadweight cattle prices remained relatively stable for the week ending 15 June, with the all-prime average standing-on at 476p/kg for the week. Cow prices dipped slightly as slaughterings rose.
  • The GB sheep market experienced a 3p/kg increase in the deadweight SQQ to 811p/kg, driven by religious festivals, despite a significant rise in slaughter numbers.


GB deadweight cattle prices demonstrated stability in the reporting period. The R4L steer category saw the first slight price increases since the beginning of May, as numbers across both steer and heifer categories tightened on the week. However, looking across the overall prime category, prices eased by 0.2p/kg week-on-week. This was driven by falls in the young bull category (-1.4p/kg) and a slight easing in heifer prices (-0.3p/kg). Cow prices meanwhile continued the movements seen over recent weeks, with prices back 0.8p/kg across the category as estimated slaughterings increased 5% on the week.

 Trade data released last week (reporting up to April) demonstrates the continued pressure of imports on the domestic market. With Irish imports up 21% for the month of April, when compared to 2023, this supports the feeling of a well-supplied market.  More recently, exchange rate movements may offer additional support to imported product volumes. Looking to exports, April data does offer some optimism, particularly for bone-in cuts, with higher volumes moved into key European markets.

 Our latest Kantar data remains up to 12 May, which demonstrates a balanced demand picture. However, more recent commentary from wholesale markets suggests some support for steaking categories. We all remain focussed as to the impact a slightly improving weather picture - alongside sporting events - may provide, potentially offering support to the long-anticipated BBQ demand kick across key beef categories.


 GB deadweight new season lamb prices have seen some strength for the week ending 15 June, up by 3p/kg on the week to 811p/kg. This was 155p higher than the same point in 2023.  Market reports continue to highlight the impact of religious festivals supporting the trade during the period, particularly for OSL’s. Multiple reports note a softening in demand, as the trade moves through the key religious festival.

 These prices are despite our estimated slaughterings highlighting a 28% increase in kill week-on-week to 210,378 head. This represents the largest weekly increase in kill we’ve seen in 2024 to date.  

 Looking past the kill patterns, key market data from EU wholesale outlets indicates the market has seen some stability over the last week, holding values across the week. As we look to HMRC trade data (which runs with a two-month lag), April figures suggest a substantial reduction in the pressure from NZ imports compared to March, despite the continued large price differentials. Meanwhile, across the month of April, exports have seen a significant reduction into the EU, back 23% compared to year earlier levels. A possible reflection of the domestic supply picture.

 We continue to look ahead at what looks likely to be a continued period of tight domestic supplies across 2024, with our recently released Lamb Market Outlook.

Image of staff member Tom Dracup

Tom Dracup

Lead Analyst (Red Meat)

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