Lamb industry chiefs remain confident the trade will receive an Easter price boost.
After a strong start to the year, old season lamb prices have stabilised in recent weeks, with the old season SQQ at auction marts rising slightly to 187.19p/kg in the week to March 5.
Mark Kozlowski, senior analyst at AHDB, said, at the moment, there were very few new season lambs coming through, but there may be more farmers attempting to push new season animals through before Easter.
Mr Kozlowski suggested AHDB expected demand for lamb to increase over the Easter period.
He said: “Prices saw quite good increases at the beginning of the year and they have levelled off a bit. We would expect to see demand for Easter over the next couple of weeks.”
But Mr Kozlowski added: “If we see a flood of new season animals, we may not see this price increase.”
He also pointed to current exchange rate movements, which he claimed made UK produce more competitive in the EU.
Ted Ogden, auctioneer at Craven Cattle Marts, Skipton, said the perception of lamb as a traditional Easter meat meant there was always an impact on prices around the period.
He said: “With Easter being so early, there has not been the volumes of new season lambs, so [that impact] filters through to old season lambs.”
Mr Ogden underlined the more favourable exchange rate was also providing a boost to UK lamb producers.
“While £1 is worth less than €1.30, it is certainly helping the job,” he said. “We do not know how the run-up to the EU referendum is going to effect this exchange rate.”
He added there was also a trend this year of good demand for heavy lambs.