Lamb prices ease as 2014 draws to a close
This combination has had a significant impact on the market, according to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).
The average weekly market price for lambs at Welsh auction markets for week ending 20th December was 177.72p/kg, some 5p below the levels seen the previous week.
“There is normally a slight increase in demand leading up to Christmas as processors look to fulfil their orders both at home and abroad,” said John Richards, Industry Information Executive at HCC. “There has also been a plentiful supply of lambs when compared to twelve months ago.”
June survey data for the UK suggested that there were an additional half a million lambs on the ground this year when compared to 2013.
This corresponds with the latest Defra figures for the period June to November which shows that there have been increased throughputs at UK abattoirs. An additional 350,000 were slaughtered in 2014 compared to the same period last year.
Mr Richards added: “There is an expectation that there could be increased numbers of ewe lamb retention this year, so some of the additional lambs that the census shows may be absorbed in this way.”
Looking ahead to the New Year, lamb prices will depend on consumer confidence and spend, together with the strength of the pound against the euro. Farmers are advised to consider the timing of lamb marketing alongside their stock’s condition and finish.
“Traditionally, lambs that are marketed now and into the New Year have increased input costs. As such, it is important to ensure that they are not over finished or overweight, resulting in price penalties. Lamb selection, therefore, should remain high on any producer’s priorities,” said Mr Richards.