Producers benefit from farmgate prices

Farmgate prices are working in favour of cattle, sheep and pig producers, which could be due to limited supplies.

The number of cattle and new-season lambs has lowered compared to this time last year and UK livestock prices are performing better than mainland Europe.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) head of economic services Stuart Ashworth said: "However, supplies of prime pigs for slaughter across the UK have been running ahead of last year, by around 1% over the past three months, so movement in pig prices points towards firm consumer demand for pigmeat products."

He added that mainland European prime pig prices have also fallen by around 3% over the past month, and that there are signs of a decline in market prices in all major pigmeat producing countries.

"At current prices, European pig producers are getting market returns very similar to those of 12 months ago, while UK producers are getting 10% more. This makes imported pigmeat more competitive on the UK market, but there is little evidence yet of this affecting UK producer prices," he said.

European cattle prices have also weakened over the past month, with the average male prime cattle price falling just over 1%. However, prices are 4% higher than this time last year.

The sheepmeat market is performing best across Europe at the moment and Ashworth said: "The main exception to this is Spain where, despite some modest improvement over the past quarter, prices are currently well below last year’s level for heavy lambs and similar to last year for light lambs.  Similarly, Italy – despite a strong trade during Easter – reports current prices for light lambs that are lower than 12 months ago."