By Farmers Weekly staff

STORE cattle continue to create a cracking trade for vendors – some of whom are selling stock early rather than serving the subdued prime market – but margins for finishers will be tight.

Meat & Livestock Commission weekly averages show that steers have continued to creep up over the last few weeks with those of 300-399kg liveweight averaging 110p/kg.

Heifers have been a steadier trade, with similar weights making 83p/kg.

The current trade looks attractive compared with the prime market, comments Hexham-based auctioneer Trevor Simpson.

With last weeks GB prime cattle average settling at 92.7p/kg for steers and 90.2p/kg for heifers, some finishers may be looking to take advantage of the lingering store trade.

“I would not be surprised if we are drawing from the fat trade a bit.

“Red-ticketed steers around 24-25 months old are making 1/kg for their weight. Its a good trade at that and they could be turned around in a matter of weeks,” he explains.

The added attraction of taking stock to finished weights to collect the new slaughter premium worth 17/head is partly compensated for those selling via the store ring by savings in MLC levies and market commission; currently worth around 8/head.

Although thoughts of turn-out keep slipping back with a run of poor weather, auctioneers are still confident for a strong contingent of buyers for weeks to come.

“Super trade,” comments Frome-based Michael Joyce.

However, buyers should moderate their wallets, adds Mr Simpson. “Some will be getting too dear to turn a profit if the fat market stays where it is.”