Prime Cattle prices rose again last week with the best Steers & Heifers just shy of 410.0kg and the average at 400.0 kg. This has the price .39 p above the same week a year ago and 49p above the 5-year average.
All cattle categories enjoyed price growth, with the overall average steer and heifer price both rising by 1.6p.
Prime cattle throughput at GB abattoirs was estimated to be 31,400 head for the week, down 3% on the week before and down 7% on the same week a year ago. Total prime cattle throughputs so far this year (to the w/e 10 July) are estimated to be 3% lower than the same period in 2020. With combines soon to be rolling for many, cattle throughputs could show increased tightness in the weeks ahead.
Cull cows are also up again with the price being 32p kg higher than the same week last year. Estimated cow slaughter at GB abattoirs totalled 10,400 head, up 7% on the week before but down 7% year-on-year. Cow slaughter for the year so far (to the week ending 10 July) is estimated to be 275,000 head, down 4% on the same period in 2020.
British Cattle Movement Service figures indicate a tighter supply of cattle on the GB market in the short term, along with tighter supplies in Ireland. This position could support farmgate prices, especially if the demand for locally sourced beef at retail stays relatively firm.
Irish cattle slaughterings are down 7 % for the period January to June 19th for the same period last year. Tighter cattle supplies have contributed to lower kills so far in 2021.
Demand for Steaks is strong seeing significant increases across the range. Imported beef cuts are showing major increases on current and forward pricing.
Availability, labour, and transport shortages are adding to the challenges for the UK Beef sector
China is playing a major role in global beef pricing, with demand from China, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay overkilled and with Argentina they slaughtered 50% more than normal in a 12-month period, Brazil and Uruguay followed suit which has severely depleted cattle numbers has contributed higher pricing.
The Argentinian Government has taken the action of an extended further 30-day export ban to China. This has caused further shortages for the European market. Argentina export approximately 63,000 tons of beef a month with 50,000 tonnes going to China, this shortfall has been put on Brazil and Uruguay meaning there will be less for Europe.
Prices for beef with restrictions eased and hospitality fully open including wedding venues with tighter supplies beef looks set to remain firm.