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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

22 June 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 22 June 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 22 June 2015

Notable uplift in the cattle trade

With the trade once again moving to a more favourable position for producers, in week ended 13 June deadweight prices increased notably across the board.

Tightening supplies continued to drive the market, despite reports suggesting that retail demand remains somewhat subdued. The number of cattle coming forward is again estimated to be significantly down on the year earlier. At 332.6p/kg the GB all prime average price was up over 5p on the week, moving above year earlier levels for the first time this year. This represents the most significant week-on-week uplift since Christmas last year which gives more confidence to the suggestion that the consistent trend of falling prices for most of this year has now come to an end.

Average heifer values strengthened 6p on the week earlier to reach 336.4p/kg, while R4Ls were up 5p at 341.4p/kg. Steers meeting target specification strengthened over 4p to average 343.1p/kg. As such, they regained much of the ground lost during May and early June in a single week. Average steer values were up 5p at 333.8p/kg. R3 young bulls were 7p dearer on the week at 325.4p/kg.

Competition in the cow trade was also much more intense than in recent weeks, with processors' specific requirements driving upwards pressure in the trade. At 232.4p/kg, the average cow price was up 6p on the week earlier; -O4L cows achieved 249.9p/kg, up over 5p. With demand continuing to be ahead of supply, by adding weight and finish to cows where possible producers ought to be able to take some advantage of this.

Liveweight lamb prices down on the week

After increasing last week, the new season liveweight lamb trade has begun to fall again as numbers coming to GB auction markets increase.

In week ended 17 June the NSL SQQ fell by nearly 4p on the week earlier to 188.2p/kg. However, daily prices showed a much sharper fall towards the end of the period. The NSL SQQ was down by over 14p on the week at 179.0p/kg on Wednesday 17 June, the first time the price has been below 180p/kg in 2015 so far. Despite this fall in the weekly average price, sharper falls recorded in the same week last year meant that the differential between this year and last fell to below 32p/kg.

The movement in price follows a large increase in the number of lambs being marketed this week, up by 38% on the week. Marketings in most of May and the first few weeks in June were behind levels seen in 2014 but numbers have moved above last year’s level in the past week. In week ended 17 June the number of lambs sold at GB markets was up 16% on the levels seen last year as the larger lamb crop, expected for this year, begins to be seen in the market.

In week ended 13 June deadweight prices increased again, following gains in the previous two weeks. The NSL SQQ increased by 3p on the week to reach 408.1p/kg. As prices at this time last year were falling, this reduced the gap compared to the same week in 2014 to £1.14 per kilo. However, prices do still remain well below the five year average.

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