Great Britain

AHDB: GB cattle prices ease into November

Beef

Deadweight cattle prices have plateaued in October following increases throughout September, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). Prices peaked in mid-October and have eased into November with the all-prime average price currently stood at £476.6p/kg for the week ending 04 November. This was a 34p climb compared to the same period in 2022.

Posted on Nov 14 ,00:05

AHDB: GB cattle prices ease into November

Irish cattle price movements have likely added downward pressure to those seen in GB. In the week beginning 23 October, the Irish R3 steer price averaged 398.7p/kg, sitting 89.7p below the GB R3 steer price. An increase in Irish slaughter rates has been anticipated for Q4, with population data suggesting a larger number of older prime cattle on-farm. With an increasing Irish kill rate noted through October, plus the current price differential, this is likely to have maintained the incentive to source Irish product.

Data indicates an increase in GB slaughter rates recently, with AHDB estimated prime cattle slaughter currently following an upward trend, with rates reaching the same level as record figures seen last year. Meanwhile, average carcase weights have remained lower in September at 340.3kg, down 0.4% (-1.5kg) year-on-year. Market reports have suggested increased occurrence of leaner cattle this year, potentially reflective of unsettled weather resulting in poorer grazing ability and variable silage quality. The increasing influence of dairy beef could also be contributing to lower weights on a longer-term basis.

GB cow slaughter figures are following suit, also reaching the highest rates of slaughter seen so far this year as space is freed up in sheds as cattle move indoors for the winter. Cow prices have generally seen more pressure since the summer, deepening their discount to prime cattle. Market reports suggest ample supplies of manufacturing beef in Europe for current demand levels, following a lacklustre summer. Indeed, wholesale values for VL material have shown downward movement through this time.

GB retail demand data shows in the 12 weeks to 1 October, household beef purchase levels have declined by 1.0% (in volume) compared to figures seen last year, with a rise in prices. Burgers and grills have driven most of the annual volume decline.

Elsewhere in the cattle trade, store prices remain at elevated levels, but have shown downward movement in recent weeks. Prices rallied through the summer as numbers were generally shorter year-on-year, while forage supplies and growth in finished values potentially aided confidence. Recently store values seem to have reached a ceiling and have moved downwards; more cattle have moved through store sales in recent weeks, with reports of variable quality due to poor weather.

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