Prime cattle prices slip slightly

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

By Rebecca Wright

During the week ending 18 July the GB all prime average slipped a penny, to £3.60/kg. Despite falling in the most recent week, the measure remains 34p up on the year and 11p higher than the five-year average. The declines were almost universal across the different categories.

Prime cattle price weekly movements (w/e 18 July): 

  • Steers (overall): £3.61/kg, ↓ 0.8p
  • Steers (R4L): £3.73/kg, 0.5p
  • Heifers (overall): £3.61/kg, 0.9p
  • Heifers (R4L): £3.72/kg, ↓ 0.4p
  • Young bulls (overall): £3.56/kg, 0.8p
  • Young bulls (R4L): £3.63/kg,0.4p

Recent industry reports suggest margins at processor level are currently tight, with fifth quarter values significantly less than last year. Last year fifth quarter prices were reported to be exceptionally low. The latest data from HMRC correlates with this, showing that in May the average hide export price was down almost a quarter year-on-year, and over 40% lower than in 2018.

Further industry reports suggest the number of cattle available for kill in the coming weeks in both Britain and Ireland is low, which is supporting farmgate prices.

Nonetheless, estimated prime cattle kill for the week was at a similar level to last week, at 33,600 head, which is more than 3,000 head higher than in the same week last year.

Meanwhile, cow prices have continued to gain some strength. The GB overall cow price gained another penny to £2.61/kg and now stands at one of the highest levels for cow prices in recent years. Prices for those meeting the –O4L gained over 2p, to £2.74/kg. GB estimated cow kill fell week-on-week, to 9,300 head which is around 1,100 fewer than both last week and the same week last year.


Rebecca Wright

Analyst - Red Meat

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