Plenty of lambs on offer
Over supply of lamb one of the factors affecting market returns
A high supply of lamb to the market is one of a number of forces which has influenced the prices received by farmers for their livestock this spring.
Figures show that the GB weekly average auction market price for lamb for the week ending 26th May 2012 was 200.93 p/kg.
This figure is 59 p/kg lower than the same period in 2011 but at a similar level to prices in 2010.
John Richards, Industry Information Officer with Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru, said: "The dip we are seeing at the moment is a result of a number of key factors.
"One reason why the price received by producers in the UK has been lower is due to an increase in imports of lamb from New Zealand at this time of year.
"The price of New Zealand lamb has dropped recently which is having a direct influence on the price of domestic lamb."
"However the Welsh and UK flock have also increased this year resulting in an expected increase in supply.
"And early reports suggest that there is likely to be a rise in the lambing rate this year compared to 2011 due to the reportedly good ewe condition at tupping and after the mild winter" added Mr Richards.
But other market forces have also had an impact on the difference in prices compared to last year.
"There have been indications from the industry that many store lamb finishers may have held onto their lambs for longer than normal in anticipation of price increases similar to 2011, this however did not happen, resulting in lambs being marketed later and at heavier weights than previously" said Mr Richards.
But he said that the economic climate in the Eurozone may have also have impacted on market prices.
"As a result of the uncertainty that surrounds the Euro, the growth of the export market may have eased recently, but exports are still expected to increase this year."
"These market forces are among the factors why returns have been below the level received by farmers in 2011" said Mr Richards.
The weekly average auction market price for the week-ending 26th May 2012 was 200.93 p/kg. During the same week in 2011 the average price was 259.94 p/kg and 207.76 p/kg in 2010.
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Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.