Cattle values may have bottomed out, showing a marginal increase in price over the past two weeks following four months of decline.
The R4L steer price averaged 375p/kg dw in the week to 22 February, 0.3p/kg higher than a fortnight ago. The overall steer average increased by 0.1p to 367.3p with the heifer average dropping by 0.3p to 366.7p/kg and the young bull average down by 0.1p to 325.2p/kg.
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“This comes as processors continued to apply significant penalties on to some of those bulls which are outside market specifications,” said a report by EBLEX. “Meanwhile, demand for steers and heifers meeting tight supermarket specifications continues to be robust. Going forward, this continuing development may put the economics of finishing young bulls under even more pressure.”
In contrast, the cow trade has rebounded sharply, with the GB deadweight average rising by 5.1p/kg to 228.5p/kg. Cull cow values at auction markets are also steady, gaining 0.1p/kg in the week to 25 February, to average 113.25p/kg.
Meanwhile, beef and veal exports fell by 15% in December. Imports increased by 9%, driven by higher shipments from Ireland.