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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

21 July 2014

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 18 July 2014EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 18 July 2014

Cattle trade steady for another week

In week ended 12 July, the deadweight cattle trade steadied for another week. The all prime average price was almost a penny up on the week at 325.2p/kg. This is the fourth consecutive week that the all prime average has fluctuated around the 325p/kg mark. Reports suggest that last week the market was more balanced than of late as demand was lifted by the continuing fine weather and tighter numbers prevailed. AHDB/EBLEX estimates suggest that slaughterings were around 300 head back on the week. While this levelling does give an indication of some stability in the trade at the present time, it remains to be seen if the downwards pressure has dissipated entirely.

Despite fewer cows forward, in the latest week prices edged down. At 229.5p/kg the average cow price was back almost 3p on the week. With good grass growth in some parts of the country there is still the opportunity for producers to take advantage of the better prices on offer for well finished cows, by adding weight and finish. However, despite demand reportedly being still ahead of supplies, the European summer holiday period is imminent and sterling continues to strengthen. Both factors could have an impact on the market over the summer.

UK production up again in June

Total UK prime cattle throughputs in June were broadly level on the year at 150,000 head. Steer throughputs were 6% higher, while young bull throughputs fell 10%. In a change to recent developments heifer throughputs declined, falling 3% on the year, possibly signalling that supplies are starting to tighten. Adult cattle throughputs were again lower than they were in June 2013. A 3% rise in beef and veal production in the month was driven by higher carcase weights as the better conditions continued to have a positive impact on finishing. This takes production in the year to date to 438,000 tonnes, up 2% on the year.

Production surges in Ireland during June

Irish beef and veal production surged ahead in June. Once again more cattle came forward which, combined with higher carcase weights, resulted in the highest year-on-year increase in production in 2014 so far. At 46,400 tonnes, production was up 27%, or 10,000 tonnes, on June 2013. With the Irish beef industry very reliant on exports and the UK by far the largest destination for Irish beef, the increased imports into the UK look set to continue. While this situation may continue to add to price pressure on the UK market, current indications are that supplies will tighten towards the end of the year will remain tight in 2015 and into 2016.

Find more in depth analysis of UK and Irish beef and veal production in the first half of 2014 on the MI news section of the EBLEX website.

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