New sea­son lamb prices look­ing positive

The Oban Times - - Farming -

LAMB prices have started the sea­son on a positive note for pro­duc­ers, at seven to eight per cent higher than this time last year, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est anal­y­sis by Qual­ity Meat Scot­land (QMS).

‘ With the Mus­lim fes­ti­val of Ra­madan start­ing on the June 6, there may be some short-term sup­port for prices which may re­peat it­self as the fes­ti­val ends in one month,’ said Stu­art Ash­worth, head of eco­nomic ser­vices with QMS.

A cold spring has re­sulted in new-sea­son lambs be­ing slightly slower to ap­pear on the mar­ket than last year, he said.

In Eng­land, the vol­ume of new-sea­son lambs reach­ing the mar­ket has only ex­ceeded the old sea­son in the past week. In Ire­land, new-sea­son lambs have ex­ceeded old sea­son for a few weeks now but, in Scot­land, the vol­ume switch over has not oc­curred yet.

In gen­eral, though, hoggs have been in tighter sup­ply with the weekly UK kill lower than last year through­out the first four months of 2016. Car­cass weights have also been lighter.

‘Scot­tish auc­tion sales of hoggs in April and May have been lower than last year. How­ever, a sub­dued ex­port mar­ket in the first quar­ter of the year meant that this re­duced do­mes­tic sup­ply did not sup­port pro­ducer prices, which, for much of the first quar­ter of the year, ran lower than the pre­vi­ous year,’ said Mr Ash­worth.

French slaugh­ter statis­tics show an in­crease in French do­mes­tic lamb pro­duc­tion over the first quar­ter of 2016, de­spite a con­tin­ued de­cline in the French breed­ing flock.

While UK hogg slaugh­ter­ings have been lower since the turn of the year, ewe slaugh­ter­ings have in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly.

This in­crease in ewe slaugh­ter­ings since the turn of the year has also been re­peated in the Repub­lic of Ire­land.

This heav­ier sup­ply of cull ewes is re­flected in lower far­m­gate prices for this class of stock through­out 2016 to date.

A num­ber of fac­tors im­pact on lamb price prospects.

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