- news, features, articles and disease information for the beef industry

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

07 October 2013

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 4 October 2013EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 4 October 2013

Supply and demand finely balanced

In week ended 28 September, the deadweight GB all prime cattle indicator eased a penny on the week to average 393.8p/kg. Reports suggest that trade has levelled on the back of increased numbers of grass-finished cattle coming forward; in particular, native-bred cattle are reported to be in plentiful supply. The spell of milder weather could potentially impact on beef sales and at a time when processors are looking to manage their supplies efficiently, this has resulted in the upwards pressure on price cooling off. However, as late autumn arrives and the number of grass-fed marketings dries up, the seasonal uplift in retail demand could assert itself as the driver of upwards pressure on price.

As producers take stock of the performance of cows in their herds ahead of winter housing, a few more cows have been coming forward in recent weeks, tipping the supply and demand balance in favour of processors. Despite being significantly back on last year’s high levels, AHDB/EBLEX estimates for September suggest that cow slaughterings in GB were around 10,000 head each week. In week ended 28 September deadweight cow prices eased for the second consecutive week with cows graded –O4L back 4p to average 265.6p/kg.

Increased sales of roasting joints helps to improve overall beef performance

The latest Kantar Worldpanel data, covering the four weeks to 15 September, reports that household purchases of beef increased over 1% compared with the same 4-week period last year. The continued increase in average retail prices drove expenditure up 9% yearon- year to £153 million. Following three months of year-on-year declines, as competition from other competitively priced roasting products had an impact, purchases of beef roasting joints returned to positive growth, up 5% on the year. Sales of roasting joints were boosted by shoppers buying more per trip and growth in purchases of non-promoted lines, which had a lower average price than last year.

In addition, sales of frying and grilling cuts increased 4%, assisted by increased penetration and a slight uplift in promotional activity compared to last year. Beef mince purchases levelled, with reduced trip volume and purchase frequency offsetting a slight increase in penetration. Mince expenditure remained notably higher than a year earlier, influenced by the continued rise in average retail prices.

Harvest yields higher than expected

The UK grain harvest is now virtually complete following generally favourable weather for the combining season, which was a welcome relief following the extreme growing season that resulted in delayed crop development. However, despite a late start, by the end of the 2013 harvest campaign, progress had caught up with the five year average. Presenting an opportunity for the ruminant feed sector, the UK barley crop is expected to rebound and could be the largest in 15 years. Find further details on the EBLEX website.

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