PRIME CATTLE prices rose by up to 5p/kg in some markets last week (ending June 4), as the number of finished cattle at auction began to ease.

Recent sunny bank holidays have also seen barbecues dusted off across the country, and buyers were having to compete to meet continued strong demand for beef, said auctioneers.

This drove the average Great Britain steer price up 2p/kg to 107p/kg.

Shropshire auctioneer Bernie Hutchinson said average prices in the Market Drayton primestock ring had risen about 3p on the week to 102.5p/kg.

“A lot of cattle have now been turned out to grass, and whereas the housed cattle have been finished and sold, the grass cattle are not ready yet.

“It‘s seasonal – there are fewer cattle forward.

“There is more competition in the market-place. We had a Charolais-cross steer at 610kg reach 143p/kg lw last week,” he said.

Haig Murray, auctioneer at Longtown market in Cumbria, saw steer prices peak at 141p/kg last week, with an average of 116p/kg, up about 10p/kg on the same time last year.

He expected another two to four weeks to pass before any increase in supply became available in his area.

A spokesperson for supermarket Tesco said there had been a year-on-year growth in beef sales.

“There‘s no doubt more and more people are buying beef. We‘re expecting strong beef sales to continue over the summer‘s barbecue season,” he said.