Finished cattle trade eases slightly in Britain

Following almost five months of British cattle prices steadily increasing, prime cattle prices largley held firm last week, according to the AHDB (the British body for beef and lamb).

In fact, some regions saw cattle prices falling back to a small degree. This resulted in prime cattle prices decreasing very slightly to average 354.6p/kg (402c/kg).

In contrast to the roaring steer trade in northern parts of England at the end of September,last week saw R4L steers losing more than 3p/kg on the week, to 371.3p/kg (421c/kg).

Compared to two weeks earlier, though, this price is still higher by about 3p/kg.

Overall steer prices lost less than a penny during the week, declining to 356.3p/kg (404c/kg), while heifer prices remained the same, with those meeting the R4L specification down half a penny compared to the week before.

Young bulls’ performance during the week bore a close resemblance to its female counterparts as overall bull prices remained at relatively similar levels at 330.5p/kg (375c/kg), while those meeting R4L or R3 classification both saw price cuts of less than 1p/kg.

Meanwhile, the cow trade, which had been recording quite a robust performance in recent months, appears to be coming under pressure more recently, with overall cow prices losing more than 7p/kg on the week falling to 205.5p/kg (233c/kg).

At this price, cows today are still faring better than they were prior to May of this year.

However, with continued difficulties in the dairy sector (which is recovering slowly) and winter fast approaching, producers may opt to increase culling rates.

This could put further pressure on cow prices in the short-term.

Northern Irish cattle trade under pressure

Meanwhile, the deadweight cattle trade has come under some pressure in Northern Ireland this week, with base quotes for U-3 grade prime cattle back in some plants.

The range however has remained unchanged with quotes generally ranging from 330-334p/kg (375-380c/kg) across the majority of plants with one plant quoting 336p/kg for heifers.

Quotes for good quality O+3 grade cows this week remained steady ranging from 240-250p/kg (272-284c/kg).

While, last’s weeks Northern Irish prime cattle kill increased to 6,475 head compared to 6,108 head during the previous week.

This was similar to the corresponding week in 2015 when a total of 6,389 prime cattle were killed locally.

Cow throughput has remained steady with a total of 2,209 cows slaughtered last week compared to 2,250 cows during the previous week. In the corresponding period in 2015, a total of 1,967 cows were killed in Northern Irish plants.