W18: Mutton & Lamb Update

Published May 9, 2023
W18: Mutton & Lamb

In W18 in the lamb and mutton landscape, Australian sheep meat exports remained strong in April, despite several public holidays cutting into the number of working days, improving on record-breaking 2022. Australian April lamb exports reached 22.22K MT, up 2% YoY. Lamb shipments saw large increases to China, the Middle East and MENA, and South Korea, and a considerable decline to the US. Meanwhile, Australian April mutton exports totaled 15.77K MT, up 48% YoY, with large shipment increases to China, South-East Asia, and MENA, offsetting declines in the US, though not nearly to the extent seen in lamb exports. The increase in mutton exports to China was the largest in absolute terms, but the largest increase in relative terms was to Mexico, recording a 992% YoY increase to 524MT, making it the eighth-largest mutton market for the month. AHDB is expected to make new breeding values for abattoir traits in the UK an integral part of the National Terminal Sire Evaluation, used by ram breeders and commercial ram buyers to identify sheep with the best genetics for growth and carcass traits. NSA expressed concern over the proposed reintroduction of lynxes to Scotland, highlighting the potential consequences for livestock and livestock farmers. They stated that the release of lynxes could severely damage the biodiversity of existing habitats and severely impact animal welfare and sheep farmers’ livelihoods.

In W18, Irish sheep trade prices were holding firm at some sites, with a lift of 10c/kg in ewe price seen at the Kildare Chilling outlet while other processors reduced quotes for the week. Irish sheep farmers reported low crops of lambs due to a poor scanning rate and inclement weather during March and April. Furthermore, while Irish hogget supplies were stable, Irish spring lamb supplies were very scarce and expected to remain so for the next number of weeks as prolonged wet weather had a negative impact on the thrive of many lambs during the March-April period. Lastly, French lamb stores reduced their orders from slaughterhouses, in the face of rainy weather announced for the weekend. On the market, lamb offers remained limited, while rates were at very reasonable levels. 

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