Hogg prices see dramatic rise

Farmgate prices have seen an increase in the past month, despite producers facing challenges with higher feed prices and the cold weather.

Hogg prices were up 12% while pig and cattle prices saw an increase of 1.5% and 2.7% respectively.

QMS head of economic services, Stuart Ashworth confirmed that the hogg market has shown "striking" behaviour with its increasing prices.

"Indications are that hogg availability, compared to last year, increased during March, possibly influenced by the early Easter holiday," said Ashworth.

"Nevertheless, the underlying theme of price increases, alongside availability increases, has continued through March. Auction sales immediately after the Easter holiday also show further price increase emphasising a general strength in the hogg market, rather than an Easter effect."

Ashworth claimed that hogg availability has also been high in Ireland, which marks an improvement of the overall market in the UK.

He stated: "In fact, prices have improved in the past month in all major European sheep-producing countries although, in general, they are still lower than they were last year on mainland Europe."

In New Zealand, lamb slaughterings have seen higher levels than last year, and export volumes during January and February have also increased.

"Because of New Zealand finding profitable outlets closer to home, the European market has been more receptive to deliveries from the UK and Ireland. Exports from the UK, for example increased 7% in January compared to a year ago, with modest increases in deliveries to France, Germany and Italy," said Ashworth.