The Sheep Market in 2023

With an increase in the UK ewe flock  it was widely felt that fat lamb prices would come under severe downward pressure particularly with the constraint on household budgets due to inflation. In reality last years prolonged dry weather and a shortage of forage has caused a reduction in the lamb crop particularly amongst the early lambers. Ewe scanners have been reporting that crops are down by about quarter of a lamb per ewe amongst lowland flocks and vets are reporting an increase in the number of very big single lambs.

Both France and Spain have seen a reduction in their lamb crops and although Ireland will make up some of that shortfall there should be increased export opportunities to the EU.

New Zealand’s lamb production has been declining over the past few years and although Australia will have an increased crop this year the demand from China and the Far East should see a reduction in the tonnage coming to Europe.

The sharp fall in the price of cereals will benefit lamb finishers and make for more orderly marketing particularly if the weather will assist winter finishers establish productive root crops.