Deadweight cattle prices hold firm

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By Hannah Clarke

Overall, prime deadweight cattle prices remained stable in the week ending 14 March. The all-prime price rose by 0.2p on the week to average 335.4p/kg, now down just 0.8p on the same week last year.

Heifers recorded a more positive week than steers, with the overall heifer price rising by a penny to average 337.5p/kg. Beasts meeting R4L spec however, fell by half a penny to average 346p/kg.

The overall steer price dipped by 0.3p to average 335.4p/kg, while those of R4L spec lost 0.1p on the week to average 346.9p/kg.

Young bulls showed positive movement, with the overall price rising by 0.9p to average 314.5p/kg. Those of R3 spec gained 0.2p, while those of R4L spec gained 6.9p on the week.

Estimated slaughter totalled 34,900 head, up 480 head on last week.

Cull cow prices showed another positive week, with the overall price up 0.7p to average 234.3p/kg. Those of -O4L spec gained 0.3p to average 253.4p/kg. Demand for cows is still reportedly keen at present with numbers holding well. Estimated slaughter was 10,200 head, down 590 head on the week.

Reports suggest that the coronavirus outbreak is adding uncertainty to market conditions. Beef is selling, but consumers are reportedly adopting “recessionary” shopping behaviour, favouring cheaper cuts as well as stockpiling. There is also uncertainty over potential future staff shortages in abattoirs, and what that might mean for throughput going forwards. There don’t seem to be any reports of processing capacity being affected so far.

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