Lamb fattening in the past 8 years was generally a loss-making business and it was worth selling only in two weight categories – at 24-27 kg and at 27-30 kg –, because in this categories a modest profit could be achieved in most of the years. Selling lambs at 20-24 kg-weight provides a proper income for the sheep farmers only if the milking... period is prolonged. If the lambs are weaned at a weight of 16-20 kg, then they are not worth selling them in this weight category. The profit of fattening ram lambs is higher and safer than that of ewe lambs. In Hungary, the profitability of lamb fattening is insecure due to the large variability in purchase prices and the instability of the market. When studying the profitability of the two genders combined, it can be stated that the summer fattening period was the most profitable, while if only the rams are considered then the profitability of the autumn and spring periods was the highest, which is due to Easter and Christmas lambs. Based on our results, we came to the conclusion that ewe lambs and rams should be sold at a lower and higher weight category, respectively.
The Hungarian sheep sector has become a one-market sector, almost the whole amount of slaughter lamb went to Italy, which increased its defenselessness. In addition to the sole Italian market showing a permanent demand for Hungarian lambs, it would worth to exploit possibilities in other European markets considering the seasonal differences in...Italian prices. Such markets can be the Spanish and Greek for ”light” and the French, German and English markets for ”heavy” lambs. Both the Italian and Hungarian prices have three major periods: Easter, Ferragusto and Christmas. Due to the changes in the prices, the producers often suffer great losses, therefore, the temporal adaptation of production, market research, technological and development activities need to be improved. It is important that the living of Hungarian sheep breeders should not be dependent solely upon the Italian market, distribution of products should be ensured in other markets too, so that the safety of sales be increased and higher prices and higher income could be achieved. The European lamb prices are characterized by large seasonal fluctuation and the degree and timing of changes are different in the different countries. Study of the literature and the results obtained in my study on lamb sales called for an analysis and study of the possibilities of price forecasting. In my study, I performed a forecasting of lamb prices in Hungary and Italy for the period between 1996 and 2006 based on the data of the European Committee. Among the forecasting methods, seasonal decomposition and SARIMA models are the most precise, producers can achieve a better market position by using these in the practice.