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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

24 September 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 21 September 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 21 September 2015

Cattle trade resumes its steady position

The cattle trade again demonstrated the fine balance between supply and demand.
In week ended 12 September prices generally steadied on the week as numbers coming forward were up on the shorter bank-holiday week earlier. However, it is also possible that as harvest activities have tailed off, some producers have been more active in marketing cattle.

The GB prime cattle average price was up a fraction at 347.9p/kg. Steers meeting R4L classification moved up a penny on the week earlier, breaking the 360.0p/kg for the first time since the end of July at 360.5p/kg. Heifers of the same spec levelled at 358.1p/kg while R3 young bulls moved up a penny to average 340.1p/kg. The current stability in the market suggests that a small lift in demand could well stimulate some competition in the market as processors look to ensure their pipelines are adequately filled. In addition, the expectation that cattle coming off grass could be slower to finish than previously expected is likely to underpin farm gate prices as the autumn progresses.

Cull cow prices firmed for the second week in a row on the back of improved demand for manufacturing beef, despite a notable increase in the number of cows coming forward compared to last week. Well fleshed cows meeting -O4L specification moved up another 2p on the week to 237.0p/kg.

Liveweight lamb trade falls marginally

While the GB liveweight lamb trade eased again in the past week, the price falls were much more marginal than those observed last week.

In week ended 16 September the GB SQQ declined by a penny on the previous week to average 151.8p/kg. At this level the SQQ is just above that in the corresponding week last year for the second week running. This comes despite numbers being sold at market falling, compared to the week earlier. Trade has been fairly level since Monday with the SQQ hovering around 153p/kg. However, on Tuesday and Wednesday it showed a moderate level of buoyancy, being up 4p and 6p respectively on the week earlier. This is potentially due to increased demand for the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha (September 23).

Despite the recent falls seen in the liveweight trade, the GB deadweight trade has strengthened, for the third week in a row. In week ended 12 September the deadweight SQQ was up by 11p on the previous week at 354.1p/kg to be just three pence below the same period in 2014, the narrowest year-on-year differential this season. This could be due to lower numbers in the sample, compared to the same week last year. However the recent strengthening of the euro and the imminent festival are also likely to have had an effect on the price.

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