GB prime cattle prices slip again

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

By Bronwyn Magee

In the week ending 22 May, the GB all-prime average fell 4.7p from the week before to average 398.0p/kg. This is the third consecutive week the measure has declined. Prices are 53p above the five-year average and just over 60p above the same week last year.

Reports suggest the recent wet weather has reduced demand, with less of us having BBQs and eating outside. This comes despite foodservice channels opening their doors again last week for indoor dining. This could offer some demand support in coming weeks, although it will also increase demand for imported beef in particular, and so the impact of this on domestic prices is yet to be seen clearly.   

Declines were seen across all prime categories, with young bulls falling the most.

Weekly movements in average GB prime cattle prices, w/e 22 May:

  • Steers (overall): 398.7p/kg, down -4.9p
  • Heifers (overall): 398.5p/kg, down -4.0p
  • Young bulls (overall): 392.8p/kg down -5.4p

Prime cattle kill at GB abattoirs was estimated at 35,300 head, up 5% from the week before, but down 2% from the same week last year.

Cow prices saw marginal growth in the latest week, with the GB average cow price lifting 1p to average 279.5p/kg. This measure is now 38p above the same week in 2020, and 40p above the five-year average. For those meeting the -O4L spec, prices lifted 0.5p from the previous week, averaging 297.4p.

Estimated cow throughput for the week stood at 10,200 head, up 4% on the previous week and 6% on the same week a year ago.

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