Weekly cattle & sheep market wrap – 11 April 2024

Thursday, 11 April 2024

Key points

Prices for week ending 6 April

  • GB deadweight prime cattle prices continued to ease to levels just below the same week a year ago.
  • Average deadweight sheep prices once again nudged upwards in the run up to the end of Ramadan, with the GB SQQ at 830p/kg.
  • Estimated throughputs for cattle and sheep remained lower in the latest week due to the bank holiday, adding support to the marketplace.


GB deadweight prime cattle prices continued to ease in the week ending 6 April, to levels just below the same week in 2023. The overall steer average fell by 1.7p to 488p/kg, while young bulls fell 1.5p to average 468p/kg overall. Heifers eased 0.7p to average 486p/kg overall.

Meanwhile, cow prices continued to appreciate. The overall cow average rose by 2.3p to 355p/kg. This was 28p below the same week a year ago.

Movements in average price were mixed on a regional basis. Southern prices appreciated for heifers and steers, while Northern prices fell. Scottish average prices have seen an exaggerated movement in recent weeks; the overall average Scottish steer price was just below that of Northern England in the latest week.

Supplies remained tighter, with throughputs lower due to the second short week. An estimated 30,700 prime cattle were processed during the week ending 6 April, down 200 head from the previous short week, but up marginally versus the equivalent Easter week a year ago. For the year-to-date, estimated prime kill is up 2% (9,000 head) year-on-year. Cow slaughter continued to fall, down 500 head on the week to an estimated 8,000 head. This was up 200 head versus the same Easter week in 2023.

From a demand perspective, GB retail data shows that in the 12 weeks to 17 March, volume sales of products like steaks and sous vide were up versus a year ago, while mince was relatively stable (this retail data does not yet cover the key period of Easter). More recent market reports from the last couple of weeks suggest an uptick in demand for round cuts as summer wholesale buying progresses. Meanwhile, retail volume sales of stewing product remain more subdued.


Deadweight sheep prices once again nudged upwards in the week ending 6 April, as supplies remained tight. The GB OSL SQQ rose 13.2p to average 830p/kg, now up 224p on the year. Estimated slaughter remained low with the short week at 167,300 head. This was down 15,000 head from the previous week, and also down notably versus the same Easter week last year.

Ramadan concluded with Eid al-Fitr on Tue 9 - Wed 10 April, likely underpinning some of the price rises in the latest reporting week (ended 6 April). More recent liveweight reports suggest trade has been more mixed over the past couple of days. Reports suggest some variable quality of lambs presented due to the prolonged wet conditions.

On the demand front, GB retail data shows that volume sales of lamb continue to be up on the year, with notable uplift in roasting cuts in particular during the latest 12-week period (not covering Easter). From an export perspective, more recent lamb prices out of Rungis market in Paris have been largely stable over the past week.

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Hannah Clarke

Senior Analyst (Red Meat)

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