Cull cow prices reached a record high of 112.3p/kg liveweight in the week ending 28 January, but dipped sharply last week after a good year in 2011.
A substantial increase in exports to non-EU markets, notably Turkey, and falling production led to tight continental supplies, increasing demand UK cows in 2011 according to DairyCo.
The strength of the euro against the pound also increased UK demand for cull cows at home.
Prices peaked in July and August last year at 111.3p/kg before the autumn influx of cows, on both the domestic and the continental markets, eased the pressure on prices.
Total cull cow throughputs at GB abattoirs in 2011 were 18% higher than 2010, thought to be due to the higher prices.
Cull cow numbers are expected to continue to decline in 2012, while remaining at relatively high levels compared to pre-2011.