Lamb trade in the UK finely balanced

As Easter approaches, despite prices tracking just below last year’s position, the lamb trade has held up relatively well in the UK last week, given the number of lambs available, according to EBLEX.

It says while it appears that demand has been underpinning trade to some extent, with procurement for Easter ending, the market remains very finely balanced.

EBLEX says as old season lambs have come forward in higher numbers, there has been some downwards pressure on price at British marts in the latest week.

In week ended 25 March, at 197.2p/kg the GB OSL SQQ dropped over 3p on the week.

It says notably, trade on Wednesday 25, was back around 10p on the week and indications for Thursday 26 suggest a similar week on week fall.

Despite this pressure on the lamb trade, EBLEX says the cull ewe market maintained its positivity as the reduced numbers forward continue to have an impact. At £86 per head, the average was up £2 on the week to be £13 ahead of year earlier levels.

Short term, it says there is some potential to mitigate the downwards pressure on lamb prices.

It cites a significant proportion of the lambs carried over into this year have now gone through the system.

In the first two months of the year, EBLEX almost 165,000 extra lambs were processed in the UK. It says that it is reasonable to assume that many of the remainder will have been marketed in March, especially with an earlier Easter this year.

EBLEX also says if the expected increased supplies from New Zealand hit the market as the old season trade tails off and before the new season trade establishes itself, its effect ought to be less damaging.

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