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Lamb prices continue New Year surge

Prices have risen significantly in the opening weeks of 2016, following a difficult trade last year


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Lamb prices continued their New Year price surge, with an 11p/kg lift at UK auction marts last week.

 

Last year saw a difficult and volatile trade for lamb producers, with prices falling heavily.

 

But both liveweight and deadweight prices have risen significantly since New Year and in the week to February 9 the average SQQ was up 10.67p/kg to 189.87p/kg.

 

Auctioneers speaking to Farmers Guardian gave an optimistic outlook for the coming months.

 

Ted Ogden, auctioneer at Craven Cattle Marts at Skipton, said: "Since the New Year, lamb prices have come up 15-20p/kg. How long that will last, I do not know. It is very unseasonal to see the prime sheep price rise in January."

 

He said the mart was currently seeing prime sheep averages of 194p/kg compared to 188p/kg last year, with last Monday’s sale representing the first time this year prices had been above last year’s trade.

 

Mr Ogden claimed one of the drivers behind the rise in prices could be a potential shortage of sheep.

 

"Sheep may have not been performing as well through this winter as in previous years," he added. "There is a bit of buoyancy from the 10 per cent reduction in the exchange rate. That has given us a boost."

 

Since the New Year the pound/euro exchange rate has fallen from a pound being worth €1.361 to €1.272 on February 11.

 

Mr Ogden added the lamb trade often received a boost before Easter.

 

Hexham mart’s Chris Armstrong shared a similar view.

 

He said: "Prices have certainly lifted recently and the job has lifted quite considerably."

 

He claimed this time of year often saw a shortage of supplies.

 

AHDB figures showed deadweight prices strengthened further in week to February 6. The SQQ was up 4.9p/kg to 408p/kg.

 

AHDB senior analyst Mark Kozlowski said: "The drivers were the same as those seen in the liveweight trade, with estimated slaughterings in the week falling by three per cent compared to the previous week and down six per cent to the same week in 2015."


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