Another hike in UK cattle prices last week

There was more upward pressure in the UK cattle trade again last week on the back of a tighter demand/supply balance, driving robust competition from processors looking to ensure their factories are kept busy.

At 29,600 head, AHDB estimates suggest that, while throughputs were just ahead of the week earlier, again they were behind year-earlier levels for the third week in a row.

It says that it is likely that the short-term dip in numbers is as a result of cattle being finished off of grass being a little delayed in coming forward for slaughter on the back of the late spring, which resulted in below average grass growth in some parts of the country.

According to the AHDB the balance in the market suggests that producers with enough in-specification cattle are currently well placed to take advantage of the robustness in the trade.

The British all prime average was up 4p on the week to average 334.9p/kg. This takes the measure close to a position last seen in mid-December last year.

It has now strengthened over 10p during the month and 25p/kg since the low point in the year so far around three months ago.

Meanwhile, the AHDB says the cow trade in the UK has been consistently steady during July with the latest week no exception.

As such, –O4L cows strengthened a penny on the week to average 237.6p/kg, it says. Estimates suggest that, in week ended 23 July, there were fewer cows coming forward compared to the week earlier and the corresponding time last year.

For the second week in a row, the AHDB says this bucks the trend seen in June and will undoubtedly have contributed to the robustness in the trade alongside the weak value of the pound against the euro.