Store cattle markets remain supported by finished cattle prices

Thursday, 26 November 2020

By Charlie Reeve

Store cattle prices across England and Wales have been showing gains in recent weeks. Store prices continue to follow the same market trends as finished cattle prices, and as the deadweight price continues to extend its premium over the five-year-average, so does the store price.

Finished cattle prices have remained high for the time of year for several months now. Deadweight cattle prices averaged 372.5p/kg for the week ending 14 November, this puts prices well up on both the five-year-average and last year’s prices. Prices are being supported by a combination of strong demand and tightened supply with fewer cattle on the ground compared to last year.

In the week ending 14 November, Hereford cross yearling steers averaged £657/head (+25% year-on-year), whilst 2-year-old steers averaged £867/head (+5% year-on-year). Continental cross yearling steers and 2-year-old steers averaged £836/head and £1044/head respectively. Auction market store cattle sales cover a wide range of ages and breeds; most categories have remained above the previous year’s level several months now.

Rearing calf prices were up across the board for the week ending 14 November year-on year. Rearing bull calves are on average up £18/head year-on-year and heifer calves are up £19/head.  There is a level of variation between breeds with Hereford crosses showing a larger annual increase than Continental crosses and Friesian/Holstein crosses.

Finished cattle prices are very likely to be influenced by the outcome of the ongoing negotiations with the EU. With the UK being a net importer of beef products, in the event of a no-deal scenario domestic prices could potentially be supported as imports to the UK become more expensive due to new tariffs. It is worth noting however there will be many other factors at play affecting future store and finishing prices, such as exchange rates and changes in domestic consumption.

Charlie Reeve

Analyst - Livestock

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