The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) says that there has been an increase of 11% in UK sheep kill figures during March, with the figure just over one million head. According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the increase in throughput is due to the fact that there were fewer sheep available due to Brexit.
AHDB senior analyst, Rebecca Wright says the key theme so far this year, within the lamb industry has been higher availability of lambs. Commenting on Brexit, Wright says sheep kill figures were changed which was expected due to alterations in kill patterns over the past few years, impacted by Brexit. With that now complete, it was forecast for lamb kill to return to a more usual pattern, and for the size of the carry-over to increase. She adds that with that increased carry-over, lamb prices were expected to be slightly below year-earlier levels, and this is something which has been seen in the market.
The UK ewe kill has also increased by 12% for the month of March to 116,000 head. That is up 12,000 head compared to the same time last year. The timing of Ramadan is likely to have partially driven this trend. The AHDB added that production of sheepmeat reached 24,700 tonnes during March, up 12%, or 3,000 tonnes, year on year.