Deadweight cattle prices move up again

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

By Hannah Clarke

In the week ending 13 June, deadweight cattle prices recorded another strong week, as competition for supplies remained robust.

The GB all-prime average price rose 5.4p on the week to 358.4p/kg. The price is now 19.5p/kg higher than last year, and 12.3p above the five-year average.

Prime slaughter in British abattoirs was estimated at 34,700 head, virtually unchanged on the week, but up 1,300 head on the year.

Prime price movements for the week ending 13 June:

  • Steers (overall): 358.1p/kg, up 5.5p
  • Steers (R4L): 372.0p/kg, up 9.2p
  • Heifers (overall): 359.7p/kg, up 5.7p
  • Heifers (R4L): 370.6p/kg, up 7.6p
  • Young bulls (overall): 355.1p/kg, up 3.5p
  • Young bulls (R4L): 364.2p/kg, up 9.3p
  • Young bulls (R3): 362.3p/kg, up 4.1p

The average deadweight cow price rose by 4.9p on the week to 256.5p/kg overall. This puts the price 21.5p higher than the same point last year, and 17.0p above the five-year average.

Cows of O4L spec rose 1.8p to average 270.0p/kg. Estimated cow slaughter stood at 12,400 head for the week, up just under 450 head on the week before, but up 2,400 head on the year.

Market reports suggest that producers may be looking to sell more animals to try and ease pressure on grass growth, and that demand is there to support prices at present. Good weather has supported beef retail sales, while increasing foodservice demand has also contributed.

A key watchpoint will be how Irish production recovers and affects GB prices as lockdown is lifted. Irish production is beginning to increase, following slaughter restrictions due to COVID-19. If this beef enters the UK market, it could begin to pressure prices.

Hannah Clarke

Analyst - Livestock

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