Uncertainty still overshadows beef market but consumption remains steady

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There had been some optimism among beef producers that the turning of the year would bring better prices.

Auction values had edged upwards from October onwards, but since January have slipped to around 2 per cent less than they were a year ago.

In the week ending 8 February steer prices were averaging 333p/kg deadweight, nearly five per cent less than the year before.

Cow beef prices were bucking that trend, said Duncan Wyatt, chief red meat analyst for AHDB, with average prices topping 230/kg deadweight in the week to February 8, 6.5 per cent more than the year before.

“Cow prices are above their five-year average with a decent demand for processing beef,” said Mr Wyatt.

“We predict cow slaughterings to be 50,000 head down this year, which should keep the market tight.”

 

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