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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

23 September 2013

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 20 September 2013EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 20 September 2013

Cattle trade responds to firm demand

In week ended 14 September, deadweight cattle prices continued to respond to the sustained upturn in demand. The GB all prime indicator strengthened another 4p week on week to reach 391.3p/kg. The price of R4L steers surpassed the 400p/kg threshold again to average 402.4p/kg and has now increased 9p in the past three weeks to be close to pre-August levels. With higher prices of late and the marketing of cattle taking more of a priority, increased numbers of cattle came forward, which kept a lid on the upwards pressure on price. Nevertheless, well finished cattle fitting supermarket specification will continue to be in firm demand into the autumn.

Production back again as steer throughputs are significantly lower

UK prime cattle slaughterings for August are now available on the EBLEX website. At 132,000 head, prime cattle slaughterings were back 7% on year earlier levels. This reduction was largely as a result of a significant downturn in steer slaughterings, back 15% on the year.

All regions of the UK recorded reduced male cattle availability; with subdued demand during the month, harvest work could have been taking priority over marketing cattle for many producers. Heifer slaughterings levelled on the year whilst increased numbers of young bulls were evident. Cull cow throughputs were again markedly lower in all regions of the UK.

Carcase weights for all classes of prime cattle were again considerably lower on the year. However, for the first time this year the average weight of cows was reported to be broadly similar to last year’s level. Beef and veal production in August was back 9% on the year at 58,000 tonnes.

Suckler breeding herd in England back again

In the June survey published by Defra the total number of cattle and calves in England was virtually unchanged on the year at 5.4 million head. In both the dairy and beef sectors, breeding cow numbers were lower on the year. Of significance, and having implications for longer term beef production in England, the beef breeding herd was reported to be back 3% and has now fallen 40,000 head in the past two years. The survey indicated some potential for an increase in supplies for slaughter in the short term as the number of male and female cattle between 1 and 2 years of age were both higher.

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