As a result unfavourable movement in the supply and demand balance farmgate beef prices have come under serious and sustained pressure since the turn of the year and are down 15%, according to EBLEX.
EBLEX says with more prime cattle coming forward and much increased carcase weights after the better feed situation over the last year, total domestic production was up over 2%, or 10,400 tonnes, on the year at 438,000 tonnes.
It outlined that, with increased domestic production, increased imports and lower exports, the volume of beef on the UK market has been much higher than year earlier levels. These increased supplies have largely met very lacklustre demand, with mild weather and strong prices discouraging consumers to some degree.
EBLEX also notes that this follows on from a reportedly poor demand for beef at Christmas, which resulted in beef prices not undergoing the expected seasonal increase. As such the supply/demand balance has been out of kilter and become very unfavourable for producers.
Looking ahead, domestic supplies are forecast to tighten as the year progresses. This may alleviate the pressure on price to some extent, however much will also depend on developments in consumer demand.