British beef trade to remain firm for the rest of the summer

Over the past week, the British cattle trade continued to feel the effect of slower finishing and less abundant supplies.

According to the AHDB in the UK, with processor’s chill-room stocks depleted and the supply situation giving little opportunity for replenishment, the market continues to sit firmly in producers favour.

Consequently, amid the competitive environment it says the British all prime cattle indicator strengthened another 4p on the week earlier to reach 342.1p/kg.

Prices are now at a price point last realised on the run into Christmas last year. Despite being slightly up on the week earlier, the number of cattle coming forward in the latest week was still trending notably below last year’s position, as has been the case for the past couple of months.

At 28,700 head, AHDB estimates suggest that the number of prime cattle slaughtered was almost 1,000 head down on the corresponding week last year.

It says the value of high specification, fully farm assured commercial cattle remains robust and in-spec R4L steers moved up in value again, strengthening 4p on the week to reach 356.8p/kg. This took prices for these types over the five-year average for the first time this year.

Meanwhile, heifers of the same specification moved up another 2p to average 355.0p/kg. The current fine weather will undoubtedly have had a positive effect on demand for some cuts, in particular those that feature on the barbeque such as mince, burgers and steaks.

However, while reports suggest that retailers are struggling to keep up with demand for these items, sales of more expensive roasting joints could well prove to be more difficult as the high temperatures continue.

Nevertheless, given the supply/demand balance on the domestic market and the value of Sterling against the euro reducing interest in Irish beef, AHDB has said it looks likely that the trade will remain firm for the rest of the summer.