Deadweight cattle prices stabilise, despite pandemic pressure

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

By Charlie Reeve

For the week ending 10 October, the GB all prime average remained fairly stable week-on-week averaging 367.4p/kg, down just 0.1p on the previous week. Overall, prices are still generally strong for this time of year. The all prime price is up 45p/kg compared to the same week last year and is up 18p on the five-year-average.

There have been some differences in price movements across different regions of the UK. Northern regions had slight price reductions week-on-week across heifers, steers, young bulls and cows. In contrast, South and Central regions fared slightly better with minor price increases in most areas.

Estimated throughput for prime cattle was up week-on-week, totalling 33,900 head, an increase on the previous week of almost 1000 head.

  • Steers (overall): 368.3p/kg down 0.2p
  • Heifers (overall): 368.4p/kg up 0.4p
  • Young bulls (overall): 352.5p/kg down 2.7p

The GB deadweight cow price had the most notable increase week-on-week, averaging 241.9p/kg overall, an increase of 1.9p, which has taken the price above the 5-year-range again.

Estimated cull cow throughput was also up on the week, reaching over 12,800 head, up in excess of 500 head on the previous week.

 On Monday, the Government announced a new three-tier system for England, which comes into force today (14 October). Each tier has varying rules regarding the foodservice sector:

  • Medium - All pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues in England permitted to operate must close by 10pm. Table bookings limited to a maximum of six.
  • High - As above, and people from different households are not allowed to mix indoors, including pubs or restaurants.
  • Very high - Foodservice outlets cannot open unless they “operate as if they were a restaurant” and serve “substantial meals”. Alcohol can only be served part of those meals.

These represent the minimum rules for each tier, and so regional councils may introduce additional measures to control the spread of the virus within their area. As such, with different rules now in place for different parts of the country, it is very challenging to predict what impact this is going to have on foodservice demand. However, we are likely to see some regional challenges with this new system in place.

Charlie Reeve

Trainee Analyst

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