Weekly cattle & sheep market wrap – 18 April 2024

Thursday, 18 April 2024

Key points:

Prices for week ending 13 April

  • GB deadweight prime cattle prices dipped slightly for the week, with the all-prime average measure at 485.4p/kg.
  • Cow prices continue to grow, up 1p to 356p/kg overall in the latest week.
  • The GB OSL SQQ grew again to 851p/kg overall, as supplies remain tight compared to last year.


GB deadweight prime cattle prices continued to dip slightly for the week ending 13 April, with the all-prime measure averaging 485.4p/kg. This was a fall of 0.8p from the previous week, sitting just over 4p lower than the same time in 2023. Steer and heifer prices drove this decline, with a decline of 1.5p seen in overall heifers to average 484.1p/kg. Overall steer prices saw slight easing of 0.7p to 487.5p/kg. Overall young bull prices grew 3.7p from the previous week to 471.7p/kg.

Cow prices continued to see growth, up 1p to 356p/kg, with some reports of demand as summer comes around the corner. However, the measure was 27p/kg below the same time last year.

Looking regionally, average prices were mixed across the week. Average steer prices saw downward pressure on Southern and Central regions, whilst the Northern region and Scotland saw prices lift. Meanwhile, Southern and Scottish heifer prices ticked up, compared to Central and Northern regions which saw downward movements.

GB estimated throughputs were mixed across prime cattle, as slaughtering’s totalled 34,700 head for the week. This is growth of 4,000 head compared to the previous week, which was shortened due to Easter. Overall, prime supplies remain higher than 2023 in the year to date, with growth of 2.7% (13,100 head). Cow slaughter grew by 1,600 head on the week to reach 9,600 head, which is expected following another short week. This is a decline of 300 head from the equivalent week (after Easter) in 2023.

Beef demand currently is relatively robust, with price support from buying activity for the upcoming grilling season. In addition, Irish prime cattle and cow prices have generally moved upwards over recent weeks, spurred by firm demand.

Back home, Great British Beef Week begins next week, celebrating the versatility and exceptional taste of British beef, with various AHDB activities planned to support the campaign.


GB deadweight sheep prices rebounded from the dip experienced a few weeks ago. The GB OSL SQQ reached 851p/kg for the week ending 13 April. This was growth of 21.2p from the previous week, and 214p above the same week last year.

Domestic supplies remain tight, as the AHDB estimated GB slaughtering’s are down by 7.6% (238,000 head) in the year-to-date compared to 2023. Estimated kill for the week ending 13 April totalled 176,000 head, which was a fall of 76,000 head from the equivalent post-Easter week in 2023.

Prices have remained buoyant despite Easter, as a key festival for high demand, having gone by in recent weeks. Some reports note there were strong prices for last-minute sales for Eid at the beginning of the week. Industry commentary suggests that persistent wet weather is impacting on finishing and quality of lambs coming forward. On the export market, prices from Rungis wholesale have remained stable at an elevated level over the past week.

Image of staff member Izzy Shohet

Izzy Shohet

Analyst (Red Meat)

See full bio

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