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AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly

05 October 2015

AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 5 October 2015AHDB Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 5 October 2015

Liveweight lamb trade falls following Eid

The liveweight lamb trade saw prices decline in the past week as demand eased following the end of the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha.

In the week ended 30 September, the GB SQQ was down by 10p on the week at 143.8p/kg. This means that the trade has now fallen over 10p/kg behind the level seen in the corresponding week last year. This fall comes despite a lower number of lambs coming forward, compared to the week earlier. Throughputs were down over 30 per cent on the previous week and over a quarter lower than the same week in 2014.

Demand appears to have eased significantly following the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha, which is thought to have been supporting the trade in previous weeks. Prices have been falling steadily throughout the week, with prices on Wednesday 30 September dropping below 140p/kg for the first time this year at 139.4p/kg, 13p below the previous week.

The deadweight trade increased in the week ended 26 September, as prices were probably still being supported by Eid-al-Adha, which fell during the week. The SQQ was up by 1p at 351.7p/kg, which reduced the difference compared to the same week in 2014 to a fall of just 2p. Estimated slaughterings were up two per cent on the previous week and were 19 per cent higher than the same week a year earlier. This may be partly due to producers marketing lambs to coincide with Eid, which fell later in the year in 2014.

Cattle trade continues its steady advance upwards

The fine balance between supply and demand that has characterised the GB cattle trade in recent weeks appears to have continued. The average prime cattle price for the week ending 26 September increased by a little more than a penny to 350.7p/kg, taking it back above the 350p mark for the first time since the end of July. Steer and heifer prices continued to their slow march upwards to 352.4p/kg and 352.9p/kg, rises of 1p and 2p respectively. Meanwhile, carcases meeting target R4L specification secured similar price rises. These rises came despite an increase in estimated slaughterings, with steer throughputs reaching their highest level of the year so far, at 17,300 head, while heifer slaughterings were the highest since May.

Interestingly young bull prices have failed to keep pace with their steer and heifer counterparts, as the average price has fluctuated in the region of 330 to 336p/kg since the middle of August, without any clear direction. In the latest week, the average price fell over 5p to 331.6p/kg, reversing a similar rise in the previous week. In July, when steer and heifer prices last exceeded 350p/kg, young bull prices were in excess of 340p/kg. Then, the differential between steer and heifer prices and young bull prices was around 13p/kg. This compares with the most recent week where this differential stood at approximately 21p/kg.

Meanwhile, cull cow prices edged up a little over a penny on the previous week to 214.5p/kg. This came despite slaughter estimates reaching their highest level since February, although this is the normal trend for this time of year. Nevertheless, the fact that prices are still rising indicates that demand for cow beef remains robust.

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