Tighter supplies set to boost the hogget trade

Hogget supplies continued to tighten during the latter stages of last week and, as a result, procurement managers are having to work to secure supplies this week.

The increase in hogget numbers, that was predicted earlier in the year, appears to have come and gone and buyers are beginning to find it difficult to secure the right type of stock.

Issues surrounding overweight and over-finished lambs appear to have eased somewhat in recent weeks, as agents appear keen to secure supplies.

Following the tightening in supplies, prices have also shown some improvement with the majority of processors now working off a base price of 485-490c/kg (excluding Quality Assurance bonuses).

And like last week, some farmers have been able to achieve 500-510c/kg back from the market.

There has also been some improvement in the cast ewe market, with factories now offering 260-270c/kg to secure adequately fleshed supplies, but cut-limits of 35-40kg still remain in play in many cases.

More sheep on the UK market

The UK live-weight lamb market weakened last week, according to the AHDB, as the number of lambs coming forward for slaughter rose.

In the week ending February 22, the British SQQ live price fell 2p (2.35c) compared to the previous week, meaning that the SQQ price is now back 15p/kg (17.6c/kg) compared to the same point in 2016.

According to the AHDB, this fall follows a higher number of lambs being sent to market.

It also shows that throughput at British auction houses was 5% above the previous week and moved above 2016 levels for the first time in 2017, with numbers up 9% on last year.