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Sheep prices highest ever recorded and cattle prices strongest since 2013

Producers are smiling, processors are scowling, supermarkets are fighting each other and consumers are confused.

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Producer optimism in red meat market #sheep365 #teambeef

That was the message from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) analyst Stuart Ashworth as he tried to sum up the current red meat market.

 

He admitted this was an over-simplification, but speaking at the launch of QMS’s five year strategy he pointed out sheep prices were the highest ever recorded and cattle prices were the strongest since 2013.

 

Strong markets

 

The sheep price could be explained by a combination of strong markets, upcoming religious festivals and favourable currency.


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The beef market was being influenced mostly by tight domestic supply, although there was some export growth.

 

Mr Ashworth said: “In the pig market, currency is the key player.

 

“Domestically there could some great opportunities for pig meat depending on how Brexit develops.”

 

The legacy from the Beast from the East earlier this year would keep sheep numbers under control in coming months.

 

New Zealand export volumes were unlikely to change. However, there was the chance New Zealand’s export trade with Iran could scupper its trade with the US and displace volume.

 

Cattle volumes, Mr Ashworth predicted, were likely to stay tight over the summer. Slaughterings of cows and heifers were up, which made him nervous in terms of the size of the future breeding herd.

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