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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

20 July 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 20 July 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 20 July 2015

Another hike in cattle prices

In week ended 11 July deadweight cattle prices moved up notably again.

The upwards pressure in the trade again comes from the tight demand/supply balance, driving robust competition from processors looking to ensure their factories are kept busy. At 31,900 head, AHDB estimates suggest that numbers were just ahead of the week earlier but again ahead of year earlier levels, for only the second week since the end of April. It is likely that the rise in numbers has been as a result of the robust demand from processors rather than anything else.

With reports suggesting that the trade in Scotland is setting the tempo, amid particularly tight supplies, the GB all prime average was up another 4p on the week. It broke through the 350p/kg threshold for the first time since late March, at 353.3p/kg . While it has strengthened almost 30p over the past eight weeks, it is worth remembering that prices were at a particularly low level earlier in the year. However, they have moved to be well above the five-year average in only a matter of weeks.

Steers meeting target specification strengthened 6p on the week to average 365.5p/kg, while R4L heifers were up 5p at 363.2p/kg. R3 Young bulls were 4p dearer at 345.7p/kg. With penalties for out- of-spec cattle having been less harsh in recent weeks, particularly for over age young bulls, prices have converged closer to those of other prime cattle. In early March the differential between the average steer price and the average young bull price was as much as 36p/kg. In the latest week it was just 14p/kg.

Competition in the cow trade was robust again. Demand for the better finished, heavier cows continues to be driving the momentum in the trade. At 240.7p/kg the average cow price was up another penny on the week earlier, -O4L cows achieved 259.3p/kg.

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