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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

05 December 2014

EBLEX Cattle and Sheep Weekly 5 December 2014EBLEX Cattle and Sheep Weekly 5 December 2014

Cattle Weekly

Deadweight prime cattle trade levels

In the week ended 29 November, the GB all prime deadweight average price was unchanged on the week at 352.7p/kg. Reports indicate that the majority of procurement for Christmas has been completed, which in some part could explain the stability in this week’s trade. AHDB/EBLEX estimates suggest that throughputs of prime cattle were in line with the previous week, again giving some evidence that supply and demand has been more closely matched. However, while the overall average steer price was unchanged on the week at 355.0p/kg, R4L steers edged back a fraction to 365.5p/kg. In contrast, the overall heifer price was up half a penny on the week at 356.6p/kg, while R4L heifers strengthened a penny to 363.0p/kg. Young bulls were, on average, back 2p on the week at 317p/kg. The cull cow trade continued its seasonal downward trend with the overall average being back 3p on the week to 202.1p/kg.

Despite the deadweight trade remaining broadly level in week ended 3 December, with many auction marts holding Christmas shows and sales, prices for prime cattle traded in the ring were up on the week. The GB all prime average increased 10p on the week to average 197.5p/kg.

Cattle trade at auction firmer in recent months

Since the summer, the deadweight cattle trade has experienced a slow and steady recovery. With a more positive trading environment for producers, it is no surprise that the finished cattle trade at GB auction marts has moved in a similar direction. In November, the all prime average reached its highest monthly average since January at 187.5p/kg, having increased over 15p/kg since the low point of theyear in June. Steers have moved up 13p over the five-month period, while heifers are 10p dearer. The strengthening in young bull prices is particularly notable. Having been subjected to particularly stringent penalties earlier in the year, the average in November was up 17p since June. These firmer market conditions have not been limited to the finished trade.


At Autumn store cattle sales demand was particularly robust, despite a good supply of cattle coming forward. The combination of cheaper feed and the long-term tight supply situation may have given finishers some confidence. Hereford cross 18-month-old steers averaged £804 per head in October, up over £55 since June and dearer than at the same time last year. Continentals of the same age have moved up £145 over the same period, to average £970 per head, although they are still modestly cheaper than last Autumn. Despite the difficult market conditions this year, the expectation for finished prices into 2015 and beyond is still firm.

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