Meat & Livestock News

Weekly Cattle & Sheep Market Wrap – 07 March 2024 | AHDB


  • Lamb prices see a significant rise, reaching 722p/kg due to decreased numbers and upcoming demand peaks.
  • The beef market remains stable with a slight increase in steer prices to 507p/kg and cow prices to 349p/kg, reflecting a tight supply.
  • The sheep market benefits from export demand and religious festivals, with prices 43% higher than the previous year.

In the latest market developments for the week ending 02 March 2024, the British cattle and sheep sectors have shown notable trends. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) reports a continued upward trajectory in lamb prices, alongside a stable but firm beef market.

Beef and Lamb Prices: A Detailed Overview

The Great Britain (GB) deadweight lamb Standard Quality Quotation (SQQ) experienced a notable increase, rising by 22p to 722p/kg. This surge is attributed to a significant reduction in lamb numbers and the anticipation of key demand drivers, such as religious festivals and seasonal events.

Similarly, the overall steer price in the beef sector remained robust at 498p/kg, with a marginal increase reflecting a tightening in estimated kill numbers. The cow market also saw prices climbing to 349p/kg, aligning with seasonal expectations of reduced numbers.

Market Dynamics and Regional Variations

While deadweight cattle prices have shown stability, slight adjustments in throughputs were observed, with R4L steers marking a 2p increase to 507p/kg. Regional market corrections have led to varied price movements, particularly in the northern region where steer and young bull prices have seen a decrease. Conversely, cow prices in the northern region experienced a 4.4p increase, contributing to the overall positive price trend for the week.

The estimated prime kills for the last week indicated a slight decrease compared to the previous week, yet the year-to-date figures suggest an 0.8% increase over 2023. This suggests that current supplies are adequately meeting demand, supported by BCMS data indicating a higher availability of prime animals, especially in the first half of 2024.

Sheep Sector’s Strong Performance

The sheep sector has continued its upward price movement, with the overall Old Season Lamb (OSL) price reaching 722p/kg, a significant 43% increase over the previous year.

This price elevation is supported by a robust export market and the approach of key religious festivals, which traditionally boost demand. The domestic market is also poised for increased activity with the onset of Ramadan, Easter, and Eid Al-Fitr, further driving demand for lamb.

Looking Ahead

The market awaits the latest official HMRC import data, which will provide further insights into global price disparities and their impact on the domestic market. Reports of trade flow disruptions offer a potential buffer against the influx of southern hemisphere products, maintaining a balanced marketplace.

As the British cattle and sheep markets navigate through these dynamics, the focus remains on meeting domestic and global demand, leveraging seasonal and religious events to sustain growth and stability.