Market Prices


In week ended 21 January 2006, the GB DAPP increased marginally to 101.31p per kg dw, up 0.19p. Only pigs falling into the lighter weight categories (less than 70kg) showed any decline. After falling in the previous week the price of the heaviest pigs (over 90kg) increased by almost a penny week-on-week. The average weight of pigs in the sample has stabilised at just over 77kg after several weeks of increase.

UK clean pig slaughterings in 2005 were only fractionally lower than those recorded for the equivalent 52-week period in 2004. The only region showing an increase in slaughterings in 2005 was Northern Ireland, up one per cent. Scottish slaughterings declined most significantly, down two per cent but they make up only eight per cent of total UK clean pig slaughterings. Pig meat production in 2005 was also fractionally lower compared with the 2004 52-week equivalent.


Deadweight cattle prices fell again in week ended 21 January. Steers fell by 1.5p per kg to average 191.9p per kg dw, heifers were down just over a penny to 193.3p per kg dw. Following last weeks rise the young bull average fell by 2.8p per kg to average 175.9p per kg dw. The GB deadweight average for cull cows remained relatively stable at 127.5p per kg for a reduced throughput of under 400 cows.

Prime cattle slaughterings were 2.25 million head in 2005.

For the 52-week year heifer slaughterings fell by 16,500 to 791,000 head. In contrast steer slaughterings were up three per cent on the year to 1.1 million head. Young bull slaughterings at 424,000 head were at a similar level year-on-year.

Cattle were presented for slaughter somewhat erratically at the start of 2005 when supplies were tight following the end of the slaughter premium in December 2004. Strong demand and high prices during the second quarter of the year encouraged cattle forward. Reduced demand over the summer months resulted in reduced slaughterings. From September onwards prime cattle slaughterings were generally higher than a year ago.


In January 2005 prices were flat and some producers held onto their lamb hoping for an improvement in the market. However, prices subsequently declined and they lost money. There is a view that some producers, unwilling to take the risk of this happening again, sold their lambs in the latter part of 2005 thereby reducing the carry-over of lambs into 2006. In fact prices have fallen by over 6p since the beginning of the year. The GB SQQ was 228.8p per kg dw in week ended 21 January.

The bumper lamb crop, combined with high survival rates, the low level of ewe retentions and good forage conditions led to a four per cent rise in UK clean sheep slaughterings in 2005 (52-week equivalent) to 13.6 million head.

Whilst in England and Wales slaughterings were up four per cent, in Scotland two per cent fewer sheep were marketed. Although accounting for only five per cent of national throughput, clean sheep slaughterings in Northern Ireland increased by 21 per cent compared with 2004.