Finished cattle prices have fallen steadily since the beginning of the year and are now 10.5p/kg below last year, according to the latest AHDB Meat Services market report.

Despite a seasonal upturn over the past month, to 275.2p/kg for an R4L steer in the week ending 11 September, deadweight prices are still 15p/kg lower than in January.

“The tight supply and firm prices in 2009 have been replaced with higher domestic supply and strong competition from Irish beef imports. As a result, downward pressure on prices has prevailed.”

Production in the year to July was 10% higher than the year before, at almost 550,000t. “In addition to increased slaughterings, particularly of steers and young bulls, prime cattle carcass weights have been higher in 2010 as finishers have attempted to maximise returns from purchased cattle,” the report said.

Liveweight cattle values fell by 5% in the eight months to August, to 146p/kg Ð 9p/kg down on last year. “The average price of cull cows at auction also declined 6% in the same period, as the increased supplies of prime cattle and the strengthening of sterling against the euro contributed to lower export demand.”