Prime cattle prices ease back since May peak

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

By Charlie Reeve

Deadweight cattle prices eased back again in the week ending 5 June. The GB all prime average cattle price stood at 391.5p/kg, down -2.5p on the week before. This continues a period of week-on-week declines in cattle prices, since prices peaked back at the start of May above the £4/kg mark.

Despite these recent declines, prices are still 42p above the five-year average and 39p above the same week last year.

GB deadweight prime cattle price movements and week-on-week changes: (w/e 5 June):

  • Steers (overall): 392.4p/kg down -2.5p
  • Steers (R4L): 402.8p/kg down -3.0p
  • Heifers (overall): 392.0p/kg down -1.6p
  • Young bulls (overall): 384.7p/kg down -5.5p

Estimated prime cattle slaughter at GB abattoirs stood at 30,100 head, down 11% on the previous week and down 7% compared to the same week last year. This decline in throughputs is due to the Spring bank holiday last Monday which reduced the number of killing days for many abattoirs last week.

Industry reports suggests the current prolonged period of hotter weather may increase demand for some cuts suitable for outdoor dining and barbeques. If the reopening of the food service sector follows the government’s roadmap, retail demand in the longer term would be expected to fall, as hospitality reopens. We might also expect some competition among retailers, to hold on to the market share they’ve gained over the last year or so.

Cull cow prices did manage to make some gains on the previous week, with prices up 2.8p on the week before to average 280p/kg for the week ending 5 June. This now puts the overall cull cow price up 28.4p on the same week last year. Estimated cull cow throughputs were down by 2,400 head on the previous week to total 8,000 head, this decrease in throughputs was also due to the reduction in killing days.

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