Strength continues in store cattle and sheep prices

Thursday, 14 October 2021

With harvest now over, attention for many turns to autumn store sales. Prices for store cattle and sheep have stayed elevated over recent weeks, helped by strength in finished markets.


Store lamb prices have remained remarkably strong this season, with the GB average peaking at over £80/head in the middle of July, and currently averaging close to £75/head. The finished price has undoubtedly been adding confidence and support to the market, as has plentiful grass in parts of the country.

Throughputs of store lambs for the year to the end of September are 5% lower on the year, but seem to have come forward slightly earlier this season, potentially spurred on by competition for tighter numbers nationally.


Store cattle prices have generally stayed on an upwards trajectory since the beginning of the year, again benefitting from a buoyant finished market. A strong trade has been reported from many centres, with cattle closer to finishing selling particularly well.

Data from our Forage for Knowledge programme suggests that forage supplies are good ahead of winter, while reportedly the maize harvest is progressing well, both of which could relieve some pressure from high corn prices.

More store cattle are expected to come forward in the weeks ahead as grass growth slows moving into the colder months. Recent easing in prices for two-year old stores may indicate the direction of finished prices (indeed the price slipped in the latest week), although lower numbers nationally could well keep returns supported.

Image of staff member Hannah Clarke

Hannah Clarke

Senior Analyst (Red Meat)

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