Supplies of cattle to the countries’ export meat plants continues to be lower than last year with some 36,000 less cattle killed to date compared to 2014.

Last week alone throughput of cattle at meat plants was some 12% lower at 27,000 head compared to the corresponding week in 2014.

Bord Bia has said that an increase of almost 50,000 head in live cattle exports in 2013 combined with a drop of more than 100,000 head in calf registrations point to a significant tightening in finished cattle supplies in 2015.

Bord Bia

Bord Bia

In its outlook for the beef sector in 2015 it said these developments would leave export availability standing at around 480,000t, a drop of more than 8%.

Prime cattle supplies in the UK are also expected to be tighter over next six months according to Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

It says that prime beef cattle supplies are tightening. Over the week ending May 23 Scottish abattoirs handled almost 8% less slaughter cattle (of all types) then they did the same week last year – and supplies in England/Wales were down by 4% too.

The cattle trade has continued its upward momentum this week on the back of continued good demand coupled with tight supplies. Trade was reported as mixed across our key export markets.

Notable uplift in the UK cattle trade

The UK cattle trade has seen a notable improvement in recent weeks, according to the ADHB.

It says tightening supplies continued to drive the market, despite reports suggesting that retail demand remains somewhat subdued.

At 332.6p/kg the GB all prime average was up over 5p on the week, moving above year earlier levels for the first time this year.

This represents the most significant week-on-week uplift since Christmas last year which gives more confidence to the suggestion that the consistent trend of falling prices for most of this year has now come to an end.