Weekly cattle & sheep market wrap - 25 April 2024

Thursday, 25 April 2024

Key Points

Prices for the week ending 20 April

  • GB deadweight prime cattle prices showed little movement on the week.
  • Average GB cow prices continue to see more support, with overall cow values up 1p on the week.
  • The GB old season lamb (OSL) SQQ has once again reached new highs, reporting 861p/kg for the week ending 20 April.


With Great British Beef Week in full flow, we take a look at the key drivers across the Beef markets this week.

GB deadweight prime cattle prices showed more stability in the latest the week, with the overall steer average holding at 487.4p/kg. The overall heifer category saw some very minor increases, with the price lifting to 484.5p/kg (+0.4p). Meanwhile the overall cow value has seen slightly more support, up by 1p to average 357.1p/kg, leaving the price 24p short of the same week in 2023.

Looking across the regions, movements were mixed for steers, reflecting the flatter market. For heifers, a slight increase in prices were seen across all regions, except for the southern region, which saw a 3p price decrease. From a cow’s perspective, most regions experienced increasing prices. Scotland’s average cow price dropped by 9.5p however, with an 11% rise in numbers on the week.

GB estimated slaughterings continue to show an increase in prime kill for the first 16 weeks of the year, now up 2.5% when compared to 2023. From a week-on-week viewpoint, prime kill remained almost static (-0.4%). Cow numbers saw slightly more movement, back 2% on the week, while from a year-to-date perspective the 2024 kill remains 1.2% higher.

Looking further afield, Irish price differentials to GB prices remain historically wide in the beef category, suggesting continued support to the increased volumes of Irish product seen in the domestic market across the first two months of the year.


The GB deadweight sheep prices have seen further strength, with prices reaching 861p/kg for the week ending the 20th April. This was 10p up on the week, and 174p higher than at the same point in 2023.

The theme of tight supplies continues, with the latest estimated slaughterings data suggesting that supplies are now back 9.3% on a year-to-date basis. The latest AHDB production forecast  continues to echo the sentiment of the current tight market across 2024, forecasting a slight increase to the OSL kill compared to our initial predictions, a sign potentially of some breeding replacements now supporting the kill. Longer term, declines in the breeding flock suggest domestic supplies will remain pressured across Q3 and Q4 of 2024.

While price increases have been seen across the latest weeks data, more recently, the market appears to be showing some signs of a slight correction, with anecdotal reports suggesting the live trade is currently providing a more mixed picture.

In the EU wholesale markets, some minor price decreases have also been seen for the first time since January, again perhaps suggesting some slight re-balancing in the trade. Albeit, with prices remaining at record highs.

Image of staff member Tom Dracup

Tom Dracup

Lead Analyst (Red Meat)

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