Prime cattle prices lift once more

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

By Bronwyn Magee

The prime cattle market continued to climb in the most recent week. In the week ending 28 November, the GB all prime average stood at 374.8p/kg, up on the previous week by 1.5p. This measure is now 48p above the price achieved for the same week last year, and around 27p above the 5-year average. This is the highest price recorded since 2014, and comes despite reports of volatility and uncertainty in the wholesale market. The EU appears well supplied with beef, while UK retailers’ demand for UK product in particular continues to support prices here.

Estimated prime slaughter for the week totalled 33,000 head, down 1000 head (3%) on the previous week, and down 7% (2,500 head) on the year. Weekly estimated prime throughput has been below that seen last year for three months now.

Prices increases were seen across all prime categories, with steers meeting the R4L specification reaching 387.5p/kg, increasing on the previous week by 1.6p.

  • Steers (overall): 375.9p/kg up 1.3p
  • Steers (R4L): 387.5p/kg up 1.6p
  • Heifers (overall): 374.8p/kg up 1.6p
  • Young bulls (overall): 363.1p/kg up 3.5p

Cull cow prices held steady on the week, down just 0.3p to average 219.20p/kg. Prices continue to trend high for the time of year, up around 19p when compared to the same week in 2019, and about 13p above the 5-year average.  

Cow throughput fell by 900 head (7%) on the week before, estimated at 11,500 head. This is significantly down on the year, by 2000 head (15%).

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