Boost for November prime beef prices as they level up year-on-year


November began with good news for Welsh beef producers of prime cattle as deadweight prices stabilised to at least 30p per kilo higher year-on-year- but external forces are keeping cull cattle prices sluggish.

Posted on Dec 06 ,00:15

Boost for November prime beef prices as they level up year-on-year

"The sector saw a dip in prices in August but current averages are strong when compared to year-earlier levels and with prime categories sitting some 32-36p higher than the corresponding week in 2022", reported Hybu Cig Cymru- Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) Intelligence, Analysis & Business Insight Executive, Glesni Phillips, in the latest edition of HCC’s monthly Market Bulletin.

Looking further up the supply chain, Glesni sounded some words of caution adding: "However, processors have been experiencing lighter carcass weights, which is weighing on overall production volumes. With elevated cull cow numbers coming forward as we enter the winter months, this could likely put some pressure on the deadweight average".

She said the cull cow deadweight market had been trending below year-earlier levels for around 19 weeks, with the average falling below the £3/kilo mark during recent weeks.

"For the most recent week, data suggests the average for cull cattle sits some 42p below year-earlier levels. Industry reports suggest the Irish market is continuing to influence the domestic market as Irish cattle prices are notably lower. Adult cattle slaughter figures were also incredibly high during October - which would also be putting downward pressure on the average price".

At retail, Kantar data said that the cost-of-living crisis was subduing household beef sales but there was optimism that demand will be robust over the festive period.

"Grocery Price Inflation is falling but is still historically high. As a result, consumers continue to experience higher prices at retail and therefore continue to look for ways to manage their budgets", said Glesni.

"For beef; the average price at retail has been heading upwards for some time now. The most recent data released by Kantar for the week ending 29th October indicates that the average price stood at £9.67/kg for the 12-week period at GB retail - which is over 11 per cent higher than year-earlier levels.

"Total volume sold during this period was down four per cent on the year while total spend was almost seven per cent higher due to rising prices".

Glesni said the proportion of volume sold as mince through retailers had increased as the economic position hardened, with the proportion during the 12-week period to November up as high as 58 per cent, some five per cent up on the same period in 2021.

"This will undoubtedly put pressure on the market as an increased proportion of the carcase is sold as mince", she concluded.

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