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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

20 January 2014

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 17 January 2014EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 17 January 2014

January blues for cattle trade

With consumer demand evidently undergoing the usual drop in January, deadweight cattle prices have continued to ease in the latest week. January is traditionally a time when farmgate prices come under pressure as consumer budgets are constrained, following the holiday period and austerity and abstinence are the order of the day.

Overall, in week ended 11 January, both steer and heifer values fell to 380.9p/kg, taking the trade in these animals to the lowest point, since March of last year. Young bull prices fell further, dropping by over 7p/kg to average 342.4p/kg, the lowest point this indicator has been since February 2013. Overall the all prime price fell by over 4p/kg to average 377.7p/kg, its lowest point since March 2013.

The fall in prices was likely exacerbated by the resumption of more ‘normal’ trading, with the latest week representing the first full week of trading after the holiday period.

Liveweight prime cattle prices have undergone much the same pattern, with the all prime indicator in week ended 15 January falling 9p/kg on the week to average 189.9p/kg.

Cull cow values also eased once again, with the overall average price dropping 3p/kg on the week to 223.2p/ kg. However, this price is still higher than pre-Christmas levels when the trade had fallen to as low as 207.1p/kg.

Record prime trade in 2013, but lower values in second half

Following the trend of recent years, deadweight prime cattle prices in GB continued to rise in 2013, with the annual averages representing record highs for all three classes of prime stock. This comes as there remains a tight supply situation globally, meaning many beef producing countries experienced record high prices. In addition, the revelations surrounding the discovery of horsemeat in beef products early in the year meant that provenance was a key issue throughout the year, resulting in strong demand for British product.

While the overall annual averages continue to show strong growth, the year was very much a tale of two halves. In the first six months of the year prices rose steadily, reaching record highs during June and early July. From this point onwards prices generally eased as a number of factors weighted on the trade.

A summary of the year can be found on the EBLEX website.

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