The latest Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) sheep market report shows sheep prices recovering following declines in recent weeks.

For the week ending 26 January, the average standard quality quotation (SQQ) liveweight lamb price increased by an average of 4.8p/kg to reach £2.68/kg or the equivalent of €3.23/kg at Friday evening’s exchange rate of 83.3p to the euro. The trade on Thursday averaged 1p/kg higher.

AHDB analysis shows prices running in the region of 14p/kg above the corresponding period in 2021. Throughput in marts increased slightly to almost 100,000 head, but throughput continues to lag behind recent years' levels.

Price improvement

Reports on Friday also showed improvement in the deadweight price of 10p/kg to 15p/kg.

Prices had fallen below the £6/kg mark for the first time since mid-November and were recorded at an average of £5.85/kg (€7.02/kg).

Reports indicate that prices have now climbed back up to an average of £6/kg, with variance between regions from £5.90/kg to £6.10/kg.

Domestic prices

Meanwhile, prices here have finished the week in a steady manner.

Quotes remain in the region of €6.50/kg to €6.70/kg, with prices at entry level to the market ranging from €6.65/kg to €6.80/kg for quality assured lamb, while producer groups and producers with greater negotiating power are securing returns of €6.90/kg to €7.00/kg.

Processors continue to report high percentages of lambs falling outside of the required specification and comment that there is greater appetite for lambs killing less than 22kg carcase weight.

Penalties remain in place for carcase weights in excess of 25kg, influenced by numbers of lambs in the batch, the percentage of these falling out of spec and the producer/processor relationship.

Quotes in Northern Ireland have strengthened in cases to the tune of 5p/kg to 10p/kg. Base quotes are typically £5.45/kg, but prices of £5.55/kg to £5.60/kg are being paid to regular suppliers.