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With the Christmas procurement period well and truly over, GB prime cattle prices continued to weaken through to the Xmas holiday shut down. At 333.6p/kg, the all prime average deadweight price was 4p down on the week and 10p lower than four weeks ago, when the latest downward movement began. With prices more stable last year, the latest figure is over 20p lower than in the same week of 2014.cowsaug
Prices for cattle meeting prime specifications held up slightly better, with R4L steers and heifers losing just 3p, to 348.0p/kg and 347.7p/kg respectively. R3 young bulls lost 4p to 325.1p/kg but this was a much smaller fall than the 7p decline recorded for all young bulls, with the average for these animals reaching a 16-month low at 307.1p/kg. This was partly the result of an increase in young bulls being marketed during the week. In contrast, fewer steers and heifers were slaughtered than in the previous week.
As is typically the case, the Christmas holidays reduced demand for cow beef and the average deadweight cow price fell by 6p to 186.6p/kg. Again, prices for quality animals held up better, with the –O4L price only losing 2p, at 211.4p/kg. As with the prime trade, prices were below year earlier levels, in this case by around 16p/kg.


Final figures for the UK cattle herd now show a bigger increase in total cattle numbers, compared with a year earlier. Previously published provisional figures only took account of trends in England and Northern Ireland, following a delay in the publication of Scottish results and the later availability of the Welsh figures.
The breeding herd, which accounts for over a third of all cattle, is now reported to have increased by almost two per cent to 3.5 million head. The previously reported small increase in the beef herd is confirmed in the final results. Up by just under half a per cent to 1.6 million head this is the first increase since 2011. The dairy herd was reported to be even bigger than previously reported, up three per cent to 1.9 million head. Published AHDB Monday, December 21st, 2015 January 2016


Lamb market price strengthens

GB auction markets show that the liveweight lamb trade has been strengthening in the past week. The GB SQQ reached 164.8p/kg on Tuesday 22 December, up 11p on the previous week, with similar gains seen since Thursday 17 December.Lambaug
The strengthening in the lamb trade comes despite higher numbers coming to markets during these days, as last minute demand for the Christmas trade has been pushing prices upwards. Numbers sold at GB auction markets between Thursday 17 and Tuesday 22 December were up by 10 per cent on the previous week and were 17 per cent above levels from the same period in 2014. After five weeks of consistent increases the deadweight lamb price fell in the week ended 19 December. The overall deadweight SQQ was down 7p on the previous week at 362.1p/kg, leaving prices 55p below the levels seen in 2014. A slowdown in the residual Christmas demand for deadweight lamb is likely to be the reason for the fall, as well as estimated slaughterings in the week being 23 per cent higher than the previous week. However, they remained 12 per cent below last year’s levels.


UK pig prices

In the week ended 19 December, the EU-Spec SPP fell by 0.93p to 124.23p/kg. This marks the fifth consecutive week that prices have fallen, recording the largest week on week drop since early October. This comes as increased numbers of pigs marketed in advance of the Christmas holidays have apparently not been matched by rising demand. The current quote remains well behind the corresponding week in 2014, being back by 19p.
Estimated slaughterings for the week totalled 186,700 head, 6,700 head below the estimate for a week earlier and over 16,000 lower year on year. However, recent estimates are thought to be undercounting the true level of slaughterings – the situation will become clearer once December production figures are published by Defra next month. The average SPP carcase weight fell once again, down by half a kilo at 80.88kg, as producers market pigs early ahead of the holidays. In comparison to 2014, weights continue to follow a similar trend. The average probe measurement remained unchanged at 11.4mm.
EU pig prices
EU prices hit new lows
Since its most recent peak in late September, the EU average pig price has fallen for 11 consecutive weeks, losing over €22 per 100kg during that time. The latest quote, for week ended 6 December, was €126.35 per 100kg, the lowest level recorded since April 2005. In sterling terms, the average price has now dropped below 90p/kg. Reports suggest that the recent declines have mainly been demand driven, as EU consumers continue to buy less pork and other pig meat products. Although pigs have not been in short supply, numbers do not appear to be that much higher than a year ago, when prices were also falling but were around €10 higher than they are now. In the latest weeks there has been some sign of prices stabilising but the market usually falls further post-Christmas. Whether that happens this year may depend on how successful the EU’s Private Storage Aid scheme.


UK Poultry Statistics

UK Poultry - Four more years of market growth predicted in poultry sector Growth in the value of the UK poultry market will continue over the next four years according to a report assessment featured in Poultry World. The market will be worth £5.7bn by 2019 which represents Chicken2a rise in value of 8.5% from this year.
This anticipated growth will come from a forecasted lift in the UK population of 2.7% taking it to 66.7m by 2019
Current values to 2019 forecast
Chicken £4.34bn to £4.72bn
Turkey £581m to £612m
Duck £225m to £243m
Geese £46m to £53m

Feed market update

On Tuesday, UK feed wheat futures prices (May-16) closed slightly up on the week, at £117.50/t. Currency was one of the main drivers of markets last week, with the US dollar strengthening against a large number of currencies. US grain futures generally ended the week lower, but the impact was tempered in euro and sterling terms. Defra’s final crop production and yield figures released last Thursday revealed an upward revision of over 250Kt in UK wheat production, compared with estimates made in October, while both barley and oat production were also revised up. On Thursday, the new Argentinian government allowed its exchange rate to float, which in turn has seen the peso devalue by nearly 27%. This makes exports of grains and oilseeds more profitable for producers as they will receive more pesos for commodities traded in dollars. Subsequently, higher volumes of Argentine grains are expected to join the global market, putting more pressure on prices. May-16 Chicago soya bean future prices closed up on the week on Tuesday and Paris rapeseed futures prices also increased.
December UK rape meal (34%, ex-mill, Erith) was unchanged at £139/t on Friday, compared to a week before. Brazilian soya meal (48% ex-store, Liverpool) increased by £1 on the week to £259/t. Hi-pro (ex-store, East Coast) soya meal was £249/t an increase of £2 Friday to Friday. US exporters announced over 760Kt of new soya bean sales last week, a welcome boost and, along with reports of dry weather impacting crop growth in northern Brazil, prices bounced. However, in light of the stronger competition from Argentina and with the US dollar strengthening, US soya bean futures closed lower at the beginning of this week.

Download the January Report 2016 as a PDF file

Cows eating grass

UK Beef

In week ended 23 January the market appears to have steadied somewhat amid a narrow supply/demand balance. Overall, the all prime price fell by just over a penny on the week to average 328.5p/kg. The number of cattle estimated to have come forward was up just 100 head on the week. Maybe the less abundant supplies just took the edge off the downwards pressure on the trade. Steer numbers were estimated to be back 200 head while heifer numbers unchanged. Overall, the steer average was the same as last week at 330.4p/kg, while the heifer average came back 2p to 331.6p/kg. Prices for steer and heifers meeting R4L specification came back a penny and 2p respectively to 342.2p/kg and 340.2p/kg. The estimated young bull kill for the week was up by 200 head on the week earlier and there was some difference in price developments for those in spec and those outside it. R3 young bulls were back just a penny on the week to 323.0p/kg, although the overall average came back a much sharper 7p to 298.7p/kg. This is the first week since July 2011 that young bulls have averaged below the 300p/kg mark. The market for these types is currently heavily dependent on finish and conformation.

The cow trade demonstrated some firmness on the week, possibly led by developments in the euro-sterling exchange rate, now around 76p having been below 70p as recently as early November. Cows meeting –O4L specification strengthened 3p to average 216.7p/kg. Considering numbers coming forward were estimated to be up 400 head on last week, the positive price movement underlies the robustness of the trade at the present time.


Lamb market price strengthens

In the week ended 28 January the liveweight lamb trade was up by 1p on the previous week at 177.8p/kg, its highest level since June 2015. The main drivers behind this rise continue to be the weakening of the pound against the euro, higher retail demand and tighter supplies. This leaves prices 8p behind levels from the same week in 2015. However, prices had fallen behind the previous week by the end of the period, with prices on Wednesday 27 January 2p back on the week at 174.8p/kg.

Throughputs have been down compared to 2015 throughout January, which is leading to the tightening of supplies. The percentage of lambs falling within the SQQ weight band has been falling in recent weeks as more heavy lambs have been coming to the market in recent weeks.

The deadweight market also saw increases in the week ended 23 January, with prices up 5p on the previous week at 394.1p/kg. This reduced the difference compared to the same week in 2015 to 27p, the smallest difference since October. Estimated slaughterings in the week were six per cent lower on the week and continued to be down on the same period in 2015, which has been the case since the beginning of 2016.




UK pig prices Last week proved once again to be a difficult one for the finished pig market, with further declines experienced in the EU-spec SPP. The EUspec price for the

Slaughterings continued to rise to an estimated 186,000, a weekly increase of just under 1% and a 12% increase on the same period last year. This indicates that there is still a supply quantity coming forwards after the festive period. The average carcase weight fell 0.3kg after an historic high the week before, perhaps partially attributed to the recent cold spell slightly dampening growing conditions. The average probe measurement fell to 11.3mm, a level which has not been noted since October 2015. week ending 23 January 2016 fell 2.52p to 115.17p/kg – its tenth consecutive week of decline. This infers that there is still a surplus of pigs coming forward to market, with supply levels exceeding demand. This comes against a climate where the EU average price is beginning to firm, aided in part by the Private Storage Aid initiative allowing some tightening of supplies. However, the EU Commission has now announced its intention to close the scheme, so we wait to see whether any positive effect it has had on the EU price is sustained.


UK Poultry – Poultry and Poultry Meat Statistics Defra Dec 2015

UK commercial layer chick placings were up by 13% to 3.2 million chicks.

UK broiler chick placings were up by 3.0% at 74.9 million chicks.

Turkey chick placings were down by 17.0% at 0.8 million chicks.

Turkey slaughterings were up by 9.7% at 1.9 million birds.

UK broiler slaughterings were 5.0% higher at 69.4 million birds.

 Total UK poultry meat production was 130.5 thousand tonnes, up 6.0%.

Feed market update

On Tuesday, May-16 UK feed wheat futures closed down on the week at £112.85/t, a decrease of £1.25. In contrast, week on week increases were recorded for Chicago wheat and maize futures. Currency continues to play an important role in the futures market, with sterling at £1=€1.314 at the end of Tuesday, after dipping below the €1.30 threshold at the end of last week. UK feed wheat futures prices recorded a week on week decrease as the currency regained strength. The latest monthly report from the International Grains Council (IGC) recorded contrasting estimates for grain output in 2015/16. While global grain production is forecast down on last year, so too is consumption and together this pushed forecast ending stocks to a 29-year high of 455Mt.

Oilseed futures prices fell sharply last Wednesday, before rebounding to differing degrees over the following days. May-16 Chicago soyabean futures price closed down on the week while Paris rapeseed futures ended the week higher, due to the weaker euro. One of the drivers of the fall was Brazilian soyabean output forecasts, which are still reaching new records, despite less than ideal weather conditions. Global soyabean production for 2015/16 is forecast to increase by 0.2% (1Mt) on the year to 322Mt, according to the IGC report. UK rapemeal (34%, ex-mill, Erith) for February delivery was reported at £148/t on Friday, a decrease of £5 Friday-Friday. In contrast, Brazilian soyameal (48% ex-store, Liverpool) for February recorded a rise on the week of £4 to £262/t.

Download the Feb Report 2016 as a PDF file

UK Beef

Cows eating grass

The expected increase in demand for the Easter holiday period did not really happen other than for increases in roasting joints. The market remains static in terms of deadweight prime cattle prices. We are starting to see an increase in prices for steak cuts, rib eyes, sirloins and rumps with the light nights pending and steak night promotions from your large pub groups imminent. The demand for whole fillets has also risen due to the steak starting to feature on more and more menus. It is still worth pointing out that each animal only has 10 in number fillet steaks, once cut. Prices for VL (beef trims) are also starting to firm, driven by further increases in burger trade across the industry. We expect the market for roasting joints to remain static throughout the coming months. Prices for imported steak meat continue to rise with fillets in short supply.


UK Lamb

The increase in prices for lamb is down to the tradition of Easter as an eating occasion and the time of year with whole lamb prices up 7% on the previous month. The arrival of the spring lambs in any numbers is looking most likely to be around June. The heavy rain period from February and March has resulted in delays in letting the lambs onto the field. Demand for legs and rumps are still strong however it is worth noting that the majority of lamb being killed this time of year are Hoggets (lamb 12months and over). These are stronger in flavour to lamb and can be more resistant when eating.

NZ Lamb

The New Zealand Spring lamb season is in its prime with promotions for legs at low prices across all the main multiple retailers. However the season will be the shortest in history from New Zealand this year, following the lowest lamb crop the country has produced since 1953. The main reason for the poor numbers has been the drought in the country. Exports are forecast to be down by 4.2% this year which will only mean our  come market becoming more expensive through the back end of the year. The lambs that are coming through are finished to higher weights.


Prices continue to remain static and prices well below breakeven for producers. Slaughtering’s for UK pigs were up 8% for the same period as last year. All of the pork cuts represent excellent value for money. The low £ value against the Euro has meant a slight increase in EU pork prices.



chickensinfieldUK Poultry prices remain static, however we are seeing an increased demand for whole birds due to retailers promoting through their rotisserie ovens. EU poultryas seen increases for breast meat driven again by the weak £ and the loss of production in factories over the Easter period.

Expect the price for turkey to increase steadily now Easter is finished. This pattern will follow all the way through to November. All indications from the growers is that there will be less live bird placing’s this summer for Christmas, due to the heavy losses incurred by producers last year. It is worthwhile trying to secure your turkey prices early for the coming Christmas period.

Rose Veal

An excellent alternative to beef or Lamb and affordable for your menus.  The meat is tender and the animals are reared in humane conditions, allowing the dairy calves to be raised for up to 8 months.

Download the April Report 2016 as a PDF file


UK Beefcows

UK Beef Prime cattle prices have eased back slightly over the last month, however it is worth noting prices are trading lower than 5 years ago. This is having an adverse effect on farmers who are struggling to breakeven at farmgate prices. If the cattle production is not paying, famers will simply stop producing beef calves. Prime beef slaughterings are 4% down for the same period as last year.

The beef market has seen increases continue on (VL) forequarter cuts for mince production as demand for burgers increases. Consumption in UK has never been higher with burger sales in the last year increasing to 47,349 tonnes. Round cuts (topside/silverside) have remained static, with the pressure on prices increases starting to impact steak cuts with rumps and fillets hit hardest. Feather blades and brisket still represent great value for money for consideration when writing menus.

Imported Beef Market Snapshot

A bleak outlook in terms of the overall picture.

• Argentina beef prices are at an all-time high

• Beef production out of Australia is 16% down year on year to date, induced by difficult drought conditions

• Uruguay continues to grow sales in live market beef cattle exports to Turkey

• China will increase imports of beef this year by 200,000 tons year on year this is an increase of over 40%

• Exports of beef from the USA were the lowest levels since 2009 for the year to date

• The Brazilian beef industry (largest exported of beef in the world) is going through a complicated time with volatility of the exchange rate and a strong political crisis.

The currency of the weak £ against the Euro means that exporters of beef do not see the UK as a preferred option. It is worth noting that currency fluctuations have a big effect on the global beef trade. Prices are moving on for all the imported steak meat cuts as we enter into the summer season with sourcing of good imported steak meat proving most challenging.



UK Lamb Market Snapshot


Spring lambs are still very slow coming through with numbers a third behind the same period for last year and prices remaining strong. Traditionally prices come down after Easter however this has not been the case this year. Again the weak £ has had a diverse impact o



n exports of UK lamb to countries such as France and the Middle East who place a premium price 

on our lamb. With the hogget season drying up and spring lambs late, prices for a very average product are at a premium.


Imported Lamb Market Snapshot


Lamb production in New Zealand for the 2015/16 season will be lower, driven by the reduction and decline of the Lamb crop. The figure is 1.8 million head which is 7% lower than the level of 2014/15. Overall the number of lambs slaughtered this year will fall by 8%, which in turn impacts on exports, thus driving prices up!


It is worth noting that exports from New Zealand for lamb were up 13% in the first quarter for this year due to an early spring and good lambing season. This will have an adverse impact on lamb prices at the end of this year with stocks forecast to be tight from NZ for lamb cuts. With the banqueting and Wedding season starting to pick up, lamb rumps and lamb racks are fetching premium prices.





After a long period of static pricing in the chicken market, the increase in demand has started to put pressure on for price rises on some key lines. Demand for birds has driven this with the bank holiday closures of production plants, resulting in short supply. Smaller fillets, drumsticks and wings are all moving upwards in price.

Turkey prices remain static with joints, breast strips and escalopes representing excellent value for money.



Producers in the UK are still continuing to lose money on each pig produced. The market is one of concern. Prices are at the lowest level since 2008!!!! The cost to produce pigs is at its lowest level since 2010 and producers are still not breaking even. UK pork exports now only count for 3% of total of total EU export volumes. The key drivers for the market being in turmoil are

  • the exchange rate £ v Euro /Dollar
  • consumer price index
  • Crude oil price
  • Seasonality
  • EU pork prices
  • Global food and Cereal prices
  • pig production

Prices for loins remain static with increases for legs starting to come through with demand for hams being the main driver. Bellies are also starting to increase in price with consumers eating more ribs and sausages through seasonality.

Interesting note, Asda from next year will increase its proportion of UK RT pork sold in its stores to 80% which will increase its levels of UK pork in its Stores by 33%. This will have a significant impact on UK pig demand and prices for certain cuts in the future.


Download the May Report 2016 as a PDF file