The UK lamb kill during March totalled just over one million head, an increase of 11% (99,000 head) for the same period in 2021, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

This increase in throughput is driven, in part, by the fact that last year there were fewer lambs available due to Brexit, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said.

Commenting on the stats, senior analyst with the AHDB, Rebecca Wright, said:

"The key theme, so far this year, within the lamb industry has been higher availability of lambs.

"This was expected due to changes in kill patterns over the past few years, impacted by Brexit. With that now complete, it was forecast for lamb kill to return to a more usual pattern, and for the size of the carry-over to increase.

"With that increased carry-over, lamb prices were expected to be slightly below year-earlier levels, and this is something which has been seen in the market.

Source: AHDB

"However, the strong global market has continued to underpin the British market, keeping British lamb prices supported."

Elsewhere, the UK ewe kill has also increased by 12% for the month of March to 116,000 head.

That is up 12,000 head compared to the same time last year.

The timing of Ramadan is likely to have partially driven this trend.

The AHDB added that production of sheepmeat reached 24,700t during March, up 12%, or 3,000t, year on year.

Q1 summary

Regarding throughput figures for quarter one (Q1), the total lamb kill came to 2.8 million head, an increase of 7% - or 183,000 head - year on year, the AHDB said.

Furthermore, the ewe kill totalled 306,000 head, a rise of 14% - or 37,000 head - compared to Q1 2021 levels.

Lastly, the AHDB noted that for Q1, total meat production came to 66,800t, 10% - 6,000t - higher than a year ago.