BEEF VALUES edged up this week (w/e Oct 22) as ration-fed finished cattle entered marts.

But prices remained depressed in many deadweight centres, and the live ring has begun to command a marked premium, say auctioneers.

The R4L deadweight steer price in Great Britain averaged 185.1p/kg last week (w/e Oct 15), a rise of almost 5p/kg on the week, but many farmers have received lower offers from abattoirs.

One south-west producer contacted FARMERS WEEKLY last week to report an offer of 158p/kg from his local deadweight outlet.

Beef values breached 200p/kg earlier this summer, but fell sharply in September as Irish and South American imports flooded the market.

Bernie Hutchinson, auctioneer at Market Drayton in Shropshire, said the week‘s business had definitely seen a recovery in the trade.

“There is a decent trade for really good cattle that have been brought indoors and fed, but even grass-finished cattle are easier to sell.”

Mr Hutchinson said less imported Irish beef and increased demand from Scottish abattoirs had helped strengthen trade.

And with some local abattoirs offering 175p/kg for an R4L beast, the liveweight price of
about 95p/kg could add £30 a head.

“But we are still seeing a lot of second and third quality cattle – glorified store cattle – coming to market as people chase the last £54 a head slaughter premiums.”