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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

10 November 2014

EBLEX Cattle and Sheep Weekly 7 November 2014EBLEX Cattle and Sheep Weekly 7 November 2014

Cattle Weekly

No end to stability in the cattle trade

In the latest week ended 1 November, the GB all prime deadweight average price was unchanged on the week at 348.7p/kg. AHDB/EBLEX slaughtering estimates indicate that throughputs were at a similar level to a week earlier, contributing to the balance in the trade. Despite this levelling, reports still suggest that demand remained robust, in particular for the better finished animals, as some processors are already in the market for supplies of quality beef in readiness for their Christmas trade. While the overall GB deadweight average steer price levelled at 349.9p/kg, R4L steers gained 2p on the week to 362.0p/kg.

The cull cow trade has been on a declining trend in recent weeks. Despite estimates indicating fewer cows were marketed in the latest week, compared to the week before, the overall GB deadweight cull cow price declined 7p to 206.5p/kg. While this movement is the seasonal norm, more cows have come forward in October ahead of winter housing. This has had an impact on price, a trend likely to continue for the remainder of the year as some processors switch attention to Under Thirty Month cattle ahead of Christmas. Producer share of retail price highest since April Latest figures for October indicate that producers received almost 51% of the final retail price of beef. This was 2% more compared with a month earlier, on the back of an increase in the average farmgate price against declining retail prices. The gap has now widened in producers favour for the third consecutive month. This is the first time since April that the producer share was above 50%. However, while offering better news for producers, the measure is still significantly back on the 57% share producers were receiving in the corresponding month last year. However, this was at a time when farmgate prices were influenced by the robust demand for British beef on the back of the Horsegate revelations.

 The month-on-month fall in retail prices is the result of price reductions across most cuts. Only premium mince prices were unchanged. Braising steak prices fell most significantly, back 7% on the month, while the price of standard mince was back 5%. However, year-on-year comparisons across the different cuts indicate a more mixed picture. Both premium and standard mince prices are significantly higher, while braising steak, topside, sirloin and rump steak all recorded lower retail prices than in October 2013. 

Sheep Weekly

Lamb trade at its highest point since August It has been yet another robust week for the liveweight lamb trade, as prices continued on their upwards trajectory. In week ended 5 November, the SQQ at GB auction markets was up 7p on the week to 166.6p/kg, its highest position since early August. While the uplift is welcome news for producers, prices are still running slightly below last year’s levels on the back of the increased supply of lambs, exacerbated by the particularly weak skin market. Despite this, with the weather changing rapidly it would appear that the balance has tipped a little in producers favour more recently. Trade was consistently firm throughout the week, with the SQQ on each day tracking between 5p and 8p above the previous week, reaching 169.3p/kg on Wednesday 5 November.

Notwithstanding the overall trend, there was some variation in price movement throughout the regions of GB. The highest weekly average was achieved in the North; at 171.0p/kg the regional SQQ moved up 7p on the week. While the SQQ in Scotland was marginally lower than the GB average at 165.6p/kg, it strengthened more than any other region, being up 9p on the week. Elsewhere, price increases of over 5p on the week were the norm, bar in the Southwest, where, at 156.8p/kg, the SQQ was considerably below the GB average and up less than a penny on the week.

Producer share of the retail price lowest since January 2013

The share of the retail price for lamb received by the producer in October edged down from a month earlier to 44%. This was a direct consequence of producer prices falling at a faster rate than retail prices.

Although declining lamb prices are typical during this time of the year, as supply rises ahead of demand, the measure was back on October 2013, when producers received 48% of the final retail price, and was at its lowest point since January last year.

The most significant month-on-month fall in retail price was for lamb mince, back 5% compared with September. There were smaller falls in the price of other cuts, including leg cuts and chops . In contrast, some cuts recorded increased prices, including diced lamb, boneless shoulder and lamb steaks.

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