Alec Ross

With new season lambs slow to reach the marketplace, prices in the sector have made a firm start to the season, according to figures from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

Lambs have been making around 350p/kg, up 10 per cent on the year and up 25% on the five-year average.

Iain Macdonald, market intelligence manager at QMS, said: “It has been an interesting start to 2023, with prices subdued through January and February, before a strong uplift through March and the first half of April took prices back towards the highs of spring 2021, supported by seasonal demand from Ramadan and Easter.

"Through April and into May, prices paid for lamb carcases in Paris have held firm, suggesting that export demand remains robust.”

Figures also suggest that import levels have been weak, with volumes in late 2022 slumping to a record low for the century, although they rose slightly in the first quarter of 2023.

Meanwhile, the slow arrival of new season lambs could reflect the impact of a cool spring on grass growth, with the potential for availability to catch up quickly following some warmer weather in May.


OTM cattle continued to meet with strong demand in Dumfries yesterday with dairy and beef animals selling to 185p/kg and 231p/kg respectively.

Meanwhile, prime Texel hoggs sold to £162 for Upper Longbank and to 323p/kg for Skipmyre. And cast sheep were again keenly sought, with a Texel tup from Ryecroft selling to £170.

A busy store sale at Lockerbie on Tuesday showed that cattle remain in demand, with grazing cattle in particular fetching a premium. Aberdeen Angus bullocks and heifers from Pearsbyhall Farming sold to 285p/kg, while 13-month old Luing heifers from Tushielaw sold to £1,140 and Limousin heifers from Crawthat peaked at £1,500.

Hoggs and lambs at Longtown on Tuesday proved to be a selective trade, with commercial hoggs being difficult to cash while better bred hoggs met with strong demand, most notably in the £144/head achieved for a pen of Suffolk crosses from Whitstonehill.

Ewes and lambs continued to match recent demand and peaked at £130 for a Beltex ewe with lamb at foot from Dormansteads. Meanwhile, feeding ewes sold to a top of £114 for a Texel cross from JE Brown, Reddis Hall, with Suffolks from the same home selling to £102.

A lack of prime hogg numbers at Dingwall on Tuesday meant that well-fleshed sheep were a firmer trade on the week, with leaner types meeting a more hesitant enquiry.

A strong trade for ewes was topped at £240/head for a pen of Texels from Messrs Jack, Kilcoy.