The beef and lamb industry has seen prices reach highs, not seen for many years.

The second half of 2020 has proved how finally balanced the agricultural commodity markets can be. In early May the GB average cattle price was as low as 325p per Kg deadweight, by mid-August it had reached 375p per Kg deadweight, a 15% increase.

A tightening of domestic supplies, reduced imports and strong retail demand were the main factors.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The later was driven by a rise in mince consumption over lockdown, favourable spring weather increasing BBQ demand, the eat out to help out scheme in Summer and fewer families leaving the UK for foreign holidays.

Retail analyst, Kantar World Panel, revealed total spend on Beef has increased 26.9% year on Year.

The lamb industry follows a very similar pattern to the Beef industry during 2020. Spending on Lamb rose 14.9% year on year, volume grew 10.9%. Roasting Joints have made the greatest contribution as families during 2020 have returned to eating Sunday Roasts, with the younger generation trying lamb for the first time! Imported lamb traditionally from New Zealand has been tight, following a drought and strong demand from China, which has had a shortage of meat because of African Swine Fever.

So, the big question is where do we find the Beef and Sheep markets in 2021?

When this pandemic eventually comes to an end, let us hope the farmers of the UK can be remembered for keeping the supermarket shelves full during the difficult times of 2020.

Mark Marley

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