Beef market update: Store cattle prices soften but trade historically firm

Friday, 8 December 2023

Key points

Store cattle prices in England & Wales have generally eased over recent weeks, coming off the boil from the highs recorded in September. However, stores remain a firm trade for the time of year.

For steers, prices have eased across the board for two-year-old animals, with downward movements recorded in yearling and 18-month categories for continental (X) animals. Other breed categories such as Hereford (X) have seen more stability in these younger groups. Holstein Friesian (X) steer prices are notably stronger than a year ago, but closer to prices recorded in 2021.

Looking at throughputs, numbers were generally tighter year-on-year from mid-August to mid-September, before growing to exceed last year’s weekly rates in October. This was predominantly driven by two-year-old cattle.

In the most recent weeks, two-year-old stores have generally seen prices stabilize as numbers have tightened.

England & Wales continental (X) store steer prices (£/head)

Chart showing average England and Wales continental X store steer prices

Source: AHDB/LAA/IAAS. Prices are 4-week averages.

Finished market rumbles on

These movements in store markets come as prices in the finished market have generally held steady since September. The average E&W R4L steer price stood at 490p/kg in the week ending 2 December, up 38p on the year. Weekly estimated prime cattle slaughter has fallen over the past few weeks and has been running below a year ago since the first week of October.

England & Wales average deadweight R4L steer price (p/kg)

Chart showing weekly England and Wales average deadweight R4L steer price

Source: AHDB

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