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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

05 October 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 5 October 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 5 October 2015

Cattle trade continues its steady advance upwards

The fine balance between supply and demand that has characterised the GB cattle trade in recent weeks appears to have continued. The average prime cattle price for the week ending 26 September increased by a little more than a penny to 350.7p/kg, taking it back above the 350p mark for the first time since the end of July. Steer and heifer prices continued to their slow march upwards to 352.4p/kg and 352.9p/kg, rises of 1p and 2p respectively. Meanwhile, carcases meeting target R4L specification secured similar price rises. These rises came despite an increase in estimated slaughterings, with steer throughputs reaching their highest level of the year so far, at 17,300 head, while heifer slaughterings were the highest since May.

Interestingly young bull prices have failed to keep pace with their steer and heifer counterparts, as the average price has fluctuated in the region of 330 to 336p/kg since the middle of August, without any clear direction. In the latest week, the average price fell over 5p to 331.6p/kg, reversing a similar rise in the previous week. In July, when steer and heifer prices last exceeded 350p/kg, young bull prices were in excess of 340p/kg. Then, the differential between steer and heifer prices and young bull prices was around 13p/kg. This compares with the most recent week where this differential stood at approximately 21p/kg.

Meanwhile, cull cow prices edged up a little over a penny on the previous week to 214.5p/kg. This came despite slaughter estimates reaching their highest level since February, although this is the normal trend for this time of year. Nevertheless, the fact that prices are still rising indicates that demand for cow beef remains robust.

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