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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

04 August 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 4 August 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 4 August 2015

Lamb trade falls again

The liveweight lamb trade at GB auction marts has continued its move downwards for another week, despite the number of lambs coming forward being lower again. It appears as though the low prices are continuing to have an impact on whether producers market their lambs or not.

With the continued pressure on the trade from the weakness of the euro and the impact this is having on returns from the export trade, the SQQ fell below 150p/kg threshold on Wednesday of last week. It has edged down every day since, to be just below 144.0p/kg on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 July. In the week ended 29 July as a whole, the average NSL SQQ was down by another 6p on the week earlier at 144.6p/kg. It’s at its lowest level since the early weeks of January 2013 and now means prices are 30p/kg below levels seen last year.

While the number of lambs marketed in the week fell by 11 per cent week-on-week, the number of heavy lambs coming forward actually increased. Consequently for another week the percentage of lambs falling outside the SQQ was up on the year. A total of 16 per cent of the lambs sold in the last week were over 45.6kg, compared to just nine per cent at the same time last year. Reports suggest that producers are trying to gain some weight in an attempt to alleviate the low prices.

Deadweight prices were also down again in the latest week. In week ended 25 July the deadweight SQQ fell by 5p to 339.6p/kg.

Heat in the cattle trade cools off

With chill rooms reportedly stocked adequately on the back of healthy supplies over the past couple of weeks, the heat in the cattle trade appears to have cooled off.

During the week that ended 25 July the GB prime cattle average price levelled on the week earlier at 354.4p/kg, the result of more cautionary procurement by some processors amid a more balanced trade. Steers and heifers meeting target specification were both back a penny on the week to average 365.3p/kg and 363.8p/kg respectively. R3 Young bulls lost all the ground they gained in the previous week, being down 5p at 343.1p/kg.

At 30,900 head, AHDB estimates suggest that numbers coming forward were broadly unchanged on the week earlier and, for the third time this month, were ahead year on year. It appears that producers have taken advantage of the firmer prices on offer, marketing older cattle ready for slaughter promptly rather than keeping them at grass over the summer months, which they may have done in previous years. While this may have taken the edge off the trade in the past couple of weeks, there is still the expectation of tighter supplies as the year progresses.

The cow trade has been more subdued with the onset of the holiday period across the continent looming, the strength of sterling and estimates suggesting that more cows have been coming forward in the latest week. At 252.3p/kg -O4L cows were back 2p/kg on the week and have fallen 7p over the past fortnight.

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