Prime cattle markets continue to climb

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

By Felicity Rusk

The majority of prime cattle markets have continued to move up in the most recent week. In the week ending 21 November, the GB all prime average stood at 373.3p/kg, 0.8p more than in the previous week. This put prices over 48p above the previous year and more than 24p above the five-year average.


Price rises were recorded in almost all-key prime markets. However, steers meeting the R4L specification bucked the trend recorded a marginal decline on the week.

  • Steers (overall): 374.6p/kg ↑0.6p
  • Steers (R4L): 385.9p/kg ↓ 0.2p
  • Heifers (overall): 373.2p/kg ↑1.4p
  • Young bulls (overall): 359.6p/kg ↑1.3p

Prime slaughter for the week was estimated at 32,000 head, around 3% (900 head) less than in the previous week. This decline came from a drop off in steer throughputs (-1,200 head), although this was partially mitigated by a rise in throughputs of young bulls and heifers. Reports suggest that processers continue to purchase beef ahead in anticipation of the Christmas period. Taking the hanging period into account, this will not be for much longer.

Cow prices meanwhile continued to move down which is typical for the time of year. The overall cow price averaged 219.5p/kg, 3.5p less than the previous week. Prices for cows meeting the O4L specification also recorded a decline, falling by 2.1p to average 241.2 p/kg. Nevertheless, prices remain above both the previous year’s levels and the five-year average.

Throughputs of cull cows also dropped back on the week. Slaughter was estimated at 12,400 head, 6% (800 head) less than in the previous week.


Felicity Rusk

Analyst - Livestock

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