Prime cattle prices softer again, but cows gain

In the week ending 19 January, overall deadweight cattle prices continued to fall, although to a lesser extent than in the previous week. The GB deadweight all-prime price average slipped by 0.6p to settle at 349.4p/kg. The measure stands 8.6p below year-earlier levels and just under 6p below the five-year average. Estimated prime cattle slaughterings appeared to begin to plateau, only increasing by 69 head on the week to 34,700 head. This throughput was 8.5% higher than year-earlier levels. This is supported by industry reports of flat demand against ample supplies of finished cattle.

Overall steer prices fell by just over 1p, as did those meeting the R4L specification which averaged 362.7p/kg. This was just over 9p below year-earlier prices and 5p below the five-year average. Meanwhile, overall heifer prices recorded a slightly larger loss on the week of 1.6p to average 351.1p/kg.

In contrast, the overall cow price rose by 4.3p over the week to end at 211.8p/kg. This is around 29p lower than year-earlier prices and 7.7p below the five-year average for the week. Cows meeting the –O4L specification recorded a smaller increase of 1.7p, with the average price settling at 230.1p/kg. Estimated cull cow slaughterings stood at 14,700 head, a substantial increase of over 17% (2,200 head) year-on-year suggesting the trade is underpinned by good demand.