Prime cattle prices enter 2020 below the 5 yr average

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Throughout 2019 GB cattle prices were under pressure, although they did receive some support during the last two months from Christmas demand. During the week ending 4 January the GB all prime average fell almost 4p week-on-week to £3.31/kg. Declines were universal across the prime categories. Next week will be a better indicator, as this week contains New Year and is therefore a shorter week. Even if next week records a marked week-on-week increase, currently prime cattle prices are certainly well below average for the time of year. Estimated prime kill increased 13% year-on-year, to 24,800 head, although again it is worth bearing in mind that kill during the first week of the year is always variable.

Typically the first half of the year is when processor demand is more weighted towards manufacturing beef and cows. Possibly reflecting this, although it is a short week, the GB overall cow price rose 7p, to £2.20/kg. This price is marginally up on both last year and the five-year average. GB estimated kill for the week totalled 7,300 head, a similar number to the same week last year.

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