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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

15 June 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 15 June 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 15 June 2015

Another stable week for the prime cattle trade

Despite reports that the supply/demand balance is still very narrow, in week ended 6 June the deadweight cattle trade edged up in most areas again.

At 327.2p/kg, the GB all prime average was a fraction up on the week. This strengthened the suggestion that the consistent trend of falling prices for most of this year may have now ended.

Returning to a five-day processing week, slaughterings are estimated to be up on the week earlier which may just have kept a lid on the trade. However, for another week, the number of prime cattle coming forward are estimated to be well below year earlier levels, with steers back nine per cent on the year at 15,000 head and heifers back 15 per cent at 10,000 head.

With heifer numbers estimated to be back to the greatest degree, average values strengthened a penny on the week earlier to 330.6p/kg, the R4L average increased a similar amount to 336.2p/kg. Steers meeting target specification came back a penny to 338.8p/kg, while R3 young bulls were 3p dearer on the week at 318.5p/kg.

Latest developments are more encouraging for the trade. Looking ahead, though, and despite tightening supplies, the prime cattle trade could still be restrained by the weak euro and competitive retail environment. However, reports do suggest that processors’ stocks are low following many weeks of cautionary procurement. Consequently, even a small upturn in consumer demand could add some impetus to the trade as processors come more keenly into the market in order to fulfil their retail requirements.

Increase seen in liveweight lamb prices

Following the stability seen in last week’s new season liveweight lamb trade, prices at GB auction markets have shown some positivity in the past week.

In week ended 10 June the NSL SQQ increased by over 6p on the previous week to average 191.8p/kg. Larger increases were seen towards the end of the period, with the NSL SQQ on Wednesday 10 June up by over 10p on the week earlier at 193.0p/kg. This increase, against falls recorded in the same week in 2014, meant the gap between current prices and those seen in the corresponding week last year narrowed to around 46p/kg. The current new season price moved above the price received for old season lambs in 2014 for the first time since April.

Higher prices came despite an 11 per cent increase in numbers coming forward, compared to the week earlier. As such, it suggests a modest improvement in demand. However, for much of May, marketings of new season lambs have been lower year on year, and in the week ended 10 June were 12 per cent down on those seen in the same week in 2014.

Old season lamb prices fell by almost 5p on the week with the OSL SQQ at 144.6p/kg. Numbers continue to drop as the season comes to an end. Only 17,200 old season lambs were penned last week, down 38 per cent on the week earlier. With throughputs still running significantly ahead on the year prices continue to be notably lower than last year.

In week ended 6 June deadweight prices followed the evolution of the live trade in the same week. The NSL SQQ increased by 7p on the week to reach 405.1p/kg. Despite this increase, prices remain over £1.20 per kilo below 2014 levels and well down on the five year average.

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