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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

01 September 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 1 September 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 1 September 2015

Cattle trade steadies

In week ended 22 August the cattle trade steadied with prices for prime cattle and cows edging up on the week earlier. Sluggish retail demand during the holiday season has had an impact on processor requirements and there is no doubt this was responsible for taking some of the edge off the trade. However, in week ended 22 August the prime trade showed an early sign of stability with the GB prime cattle average price up 2p on the week earlier at 345.1p/kg. This halted the declining prices of the previous four weeks.

With estimates suggesting that numbers have been tighter again this week, this supports previous suggestions that with the trade so finely balanced a small lift in demand can be immediately felt in the market. The balance in the trade has tipped back into producers' favour, particularly for those with reasonable numbers of supermarket specification cattle available. Reports suggest that some processors are more keenly in the market for supplies and that waiting lists, albeit short where they existed, are evaporating.

As with the prime trade in the latest week some stability crept in to the cow trade, which is positive given estimates suggest that numbers coming forward have been high for a few weeks. Overall, cows averaged 210.3p/kg in week ended 22 August, up a penny on the week earlier. However, at this level prices are still a notable 30p/kg below where they were six weeks ago.

Further falls seen in the lamb trade

The GB liveweight lamb trade fell further in week ended 26 August, although the falls were not as sharp as those seen in previous weeks.

The GB SQQ was down by 2p on the week earlier at 143.7p/kg, despite a fall in the number of lambs coming to the market. This increases the difference, compared to the same period in 2014 to 21p. However, prices towards the end of the week increased for the first time since No Lamb Week, with those on Wednesday 26 August being 144.8p/kg – up 3p on the week.

The number of lambs coming to GB markets fell by three per cent on the week as producers appear to be continuing to hold on to lambs, possibly waiting for better prices. However, throughputs at markets were up by seven per cent compared to numbers seen a year earlier. The percentage of lambs falling within the SQQ weight band continued to fall, standing at 70 per cent during the week.

In the week ended 22 August the deadweight market began following the liveweight market again, after moving in the opposite direction in the previous week. The dw SQQ fell by 6p on the week to 335.3p/kg, as numbers were up by seven per cent. This led the difference compared to the same week in 2014 to increase to 41p/kg.

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