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

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

19 November 2013

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 15 November 2013EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 15 November 2013

Slow trade keeps lid on prices

With no sign of a seasonal uplift, and supplies running ahead of demand, the deadweight trade remained subdued in week ended 9 November. This comes as reports suggest that many processors are managing their stocks carefully, awaiting their retail orders before coming into the market for supplies to cover the upcoming holiday period. With heifer prices level on the week and steers and young bulls cheaper, the all prime average was back 2p to 386.6p/kg. Cattle outside required specifications are reportedly proving difficult to sell, particularly young bulls over 16 months of age and any plainer steers and heifers.

Despite the current trend being contrary to seasonal expectations, prime cattle average prices are still over 10% up on the year. With Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling mid-week, the holiday period is likely to be a drawn out affair. As such, a significant proportion of families are likely to opt for a full two weeks off, meaning there is still plenty of time for robust consumer demand to prevail. However, the requirement for maturation periods of 21 days and over means that the next 2-3 weeks will be the key procurement period for Christmas.

While the deadweight trade is still stalled, the latest prices at GB auction markets have again moved in a more positive direction. In week ended 13 November the all prime cattle average was up a penny on the week at 199.7p/kg.

EU cow price falls to eighteen month low

After reaching a peak in July, the EU average O3 cow price had fallen by over 11% by early November. While this decline is seasonal to some degree, slow demand during the hot summer weather on the continent resulted in an increase in stocks in some markets, such as France. There have also been indications that cow beef had become too expensive, with some markets switching to young bull beef instead. This has happened in France in particular where cow prices had fallen by 9% by mid-October, from the mid- July peak. Increased availability of cheaper Polish beef on some markets has also contributed to the easing in demand for cow beef as this product has been very competitive.

Irish production forecast higher in 2014

Latest forecasts for Irish beef production point to volumes in the later period of this year still being up on the year. In 2013 as a whole, production is now forecast to be 7% up on the year and up a further 4% next year. This rise is being driven by increased supplies of cattle, particularly in the first half of 2014. Further details can be found on the EBLEX website.

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