Prime lamb values have been trading above those of 2023 and 2022, all year, and the trend look set to continue – despite the euro dropping in value against sterling last week.

Emmanuel Macron took the international community by surprise by announcing a snap election in France recently. That decision came after the far right surged in France’s European vote – the National Rally won more than double the votes of Macron’s centrist alliance.

As a result, the euro dropped in value against sterling compared to the previous week which in turn makes UK exports to the EU more expensive.

For example, on May 31, the euro stood at 1.1746 against sterling, which with a SQQ for new season lamb of 849.7p for that week would have put UK lamb at €9.98 per kg.

Worryingly, this fall in the value of the euro could affect all exports from the UK to the continent, while also making imports from the EU cheaper.

However, Archie Hamilton, head sheep auctioneer at Lawrie and Symington at Lanark, remains confident the sheep trade will remain firm all year due to the shortage of numbers in the UK and throughout Europe.

“Prime sheep values have been up on the year throughout the whole of 2024. Just because the value of the euro has slipped doesn’t mean the trade will crash. The Muslim population in this country and the EU doesn’t change – they still need to be fed,” he said adding that there is a shortage of sheep meat on the continent and the UK due to bluetongue and schmallenberg and the wet weather experienced by many at lambing time.

“I really don’t think the prices will change much. On Monday, our hogg trade was up 75p per kg on the year and spring lambs were up £1 compared to the same sale last year. The ewe trade was up £28.50 per head.

“I can’t see anything upsetting the trade,” said Mr Hamilton.

Backing up these statements, Jonny Williams, joint business director of the co-operative Farm Stock Scotland, said there is likely to be a shortage of sheep meat all summer when ewe numbers in England and Wales are down 4.5-5% and some of those flocks had lost 40% of their lambs due to schmallenberg. “Lamb numbers in the UK are going to be down and meat supplies across the globe are going to be tight when you think rewilding is also happening in New Zealand.”

Such is the optimism in the market, Mr Williams said that 34% of Farm Stock customers who responded to a company survey said they were looking to increase production.