DEMAND for prime lambs has remained firm over the past six weeks, with prices now some 20p per live kg above last years levels, but it is the store lamb and cull ewe trade that has soared ahead in recent weeks.
FOLLOWING a robust few weeks where the lamb trade has continued to rise, prices passed last year's levels for the first time since back in June to average 190.87p per kg for Standard Quality Quotation lambs up to 45.5kg sold through Scottish auction marts, as shown by Eblex figures for the week ended December 13.
WITH the Christmas shows and sales all but over and meat buyers now looking to the January market, deadweight cattle prices have slipped since their recent peak almost a month ago, and values in the next few weeks are unlikely to improve.
OIL prices may well be at their lowest level since July, 2010, but fertiliser values - although stable - are creeping up, with the majority of compounds some £10 to £25 up on 2013 values and expected to rise further at the turn of the year.
LAMB prices have been improving over the past month, with the SQQ in Scotland on Tuesday, sitting at 179.9p per live kg - up almost 5p on the week and almost 30p on the disasterous lows of 140p at the end of September - however, skin prices remain decidedly sticky.
SUBSTANTIALLY increased prices and improved weather in the second half of the year, helped to overturn the effects of a long, cold hard winter and spring and, says QMS, most cattle and sheep businesses improved margins in 2013.