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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

29 June 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 29 June 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 29 June 2015

More positive movement in the cattle trade

The prime cattle trade has seen more upwards movement for another week.

In week ended 20 June, despite numbers coming forward estimated to have increased on the week earlier, the all prime average was still up 5p at 337.7p/kg. This further uplift reflects a more positive trading environment in which the all prime average has strengthened by more than 12p/kg over the past three weeks. This price rise has evidently come as supplies fall short of retail demand and confirms the predictions made a short while ago. With the balance in the trade so fine it would not take much stimulus from either side of the equation to move the trade into a position less out of kilter fairly quickly.

With the supply and demand balance having swung in producers’ favour, competition from processors is reported to have been solid. As such, waiting lists have evaporated and while cattle ‘out of spec’ may have proved trickier to place, they have still found a home easily. On average R4L steer values were up 4p on the week at 347.3p/kg. Heifers meeting target moved up 5p to average 346.1p/kg. R3 young bulls were 6p dearer on the week at 331.3p/kg, they have increased 16p/kg.

The outlook for the summer continues to appear positive on the back of the tightening supply situation. While there is still the risk that this could be tempered by the on-going strength of sterling against the euro, which would still mean imports from other member states are competitive, it looks likely that producers will be in a much stronger negotiating position. With the summer supply gap already influencing the market, producers are looking for the right buyers, holding onto cattle where they can in order to maximize returns amid the rising market.

Sharp falls seen in the liveweight lamb trade

New season lamb liveweight prices have seen sharper falls in the past week, following a decline in the previous seven days, despite tighter supplies at GB auction markets. In the week ended 24 June the NSL SQQ fell to 170.7p/kg, over 17p lower than the previous week.

The daily average price on Wednesday 24 June was as low as 160.2p/kg, almost 19p down on the week earlier. This left the current weekly price over 42p lower than the same week in 2014 when prices were not falling as rapidly. This is the lowest June value for the new season trade since 2010. Supplies remain at a high level amid some challenging trading conditions, while the pound continues to strengthen.

These falls come despite numbers of lambs coming to market being well below numbers last week. Numbers in the past week were back 15% on the previous seven days, suggesting the falling prices have put producers off bringing lambs forward. However, throughputs do still remain above levels seen in 2014, for the second week in a row. With numbers up by over one per cent on the week, it shows how good the lamb crop has been this year.

In week ended 20 June, despite falls seen in the liveweight market, the deadweight trade strengthened for the third week in a row. The NSL SQQ increased by over 3p on the week to reach 411.4p/kg, reducing the gap compared to 2014 to less than a pound for the first time since mid-May.

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