Auction market sales are bucking the annual trend with sale rings across the UK reporting an uplift in prices.
Auctioneers said despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, including the threat of a drop in subsidies and changes to future trading arrangements, a wave of positivity had swept across the industry.
Dairy cattle, prime cattle, prime lambs and culls have all seen positive movement.
Mark Woodmass of Longtown mart, Cumbria, said: “Fat lambs have had a fair lift, averaging 212p/kg last week which is up 50p/kg on this time last year, and there’s plenty of competition out there at the moment in the livestock markets.”
United Auctions in Scotland echoed the price lift, adding lamb numbers were lighter last week with fewer lambs going forward due to the poor weather.
Katie Morris, of Knighton mart, Powys, said prices were ‘exceptional’ compared to this time last year, adding she had recorded a 50p/kg rise in fat lamb prices.
However, she said it was difficult to predict what would happen in the long term.
Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association, said while there was ‘an awful lot of work to do’ before new trade agreements could be set up post Brexit, he saw ‘more stability staying in the trade in the forthcoming months’.
“Auctioneers are looking forward to the autumn sales and hope the slight rise in confidence in the slaughter market will create optimism in the store and breeding rings to reflect this,” said Mr Dodds.
“We know there is uncertainty over what will happen to subsidies when the UK leaves the EU, so if we can have a decent trade for the next two years that enables us to build up our reserves, that will buffer any storm that comes after that.”
There was also optimism in the dairy rings thanks to the first signs of a market turnaround and the consolidation of a number of herds.
A sale last week at Borderway, Carlise, saw a quality cow in the second week of lactation selling for £1,700, and top heifers going for £1,450 each.
In the South West, Kivells saw top prices of £1,620 at Holsworthy and £1,550 at Exeter.
It came as the latest statistics from AHDB and the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association showed herd numbers had reduced by more than 1,000 in the last three years, although the dairy cow population had increased in some areas.
Cow numbers in Kirkcudbrightshire in the south west of Scotland increased by 2,790 between January 2015 and January 2016.
Kivells director Mark Bromell added: “Fears of a collapse when the Brexit decision was made have not come to fruition.
“The falling pound against the euro has firmed the trade, but to be fair it was already on a rising scale.”