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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

16 September 2014

EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 12 September 2014EBLEX Cattle Weekly - 12 September 2014

Positive movement in the prime cattle trade again

The recent upward momentum in the cattle trade has continued for another week. Despite prime cattle numbers coming forward estimated to be up on the week, in week ended 6 September prices increased across the board. Consequently the GB all prime deadweight average increased 3p on the week to 342.8p/kg. It has now moved up 18p/kg over the past month or so. Despite heifer throughputs being up 1,900 head and steer numbers up 1,500 head, robust demand, in particular for cattle fitting supermarket specification, still prevailed. As a result, R4L steers were up 5p on the week to 355.1p/kg, while heifers of the same grade increased 4p on the week at 350.1p/kg, surpassing the 350p/kg threshold for the first time since early May.

As trade has firmed, reports suggest that, while many of the rigorous penalties for out of spec cattle have reduced, for young bulls over 16 months of age they are still being applied. In the latest week, the number of young bulls forward was unchanged on the week before. As a result, and following a strong uplift in price the previous week, upwards pressure on young bull prices was somewhat softer than that for other classes of prime cattle. The overall young bull average was up less than a penny at 321.9p/kg.

In the latest week, there was a marked increase in the number of cull cows coming forward, possibly a reflection of producers starting to give consideration to uneconomic cows ahead of autumn housing. Despite this, and demonstrating the continuing robustness of the trade, the GB deadweight average cow price was unchanged on the week at 229.4p/kg.

Beef and veal exports perform well again

In July, on the back of increased production, beef and veal exports increased 7% on the year to 8,500 tonnes. While higher shipments to the Netherlands and Ireland largely drove this increase, there was a spectacular increase in exports to Hong Kong. Despite this uplift in volume, the value returned to the industry was still lower compared with July last year, down 3% at £29.8 million; the unit price was back 9% on the year at £3,500/tonne.

For another month, offal exports continued their strong performance, being up 37% on the year at 3,200 tonnes. Shipments to all of the main destinations increased.

For the second consecutive month, imports were lower on the year, being down 6% to 19,100 tonnes. Despite this, Irish shipments resumed their position of being higher than year earlier levels, up 3% to 12,600 tonnes, accounting for two-thirds of the UK’s requirement in the month. There were lower shipments from a range of smaller suppliers, including the Netherlands, Poland, Australia, Germany and Botswana.

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