By FWi staff

DEADWEIGHT cattle prices have remained firm so far this month, with fewer beasts than expected reaching the market.

Forecasts that producers would hold cattle back in December to qualify for the new slaughter premium introduced this month, have not been borne out, according to Anglo Beef Producers.

Instead, many producers took advantage of the stronger cattle values before Christmas, said Bob White, group procurement manager.

As a result, throughput has been lighter than expected and values have remained firm, he said.

“Demand has not been strong, but supplies have been lighter.”

Meat and Livestock Commission figures for the beginning of the month show stable prices, with steers at 181p/kg deadweight, heifers at 177.7p/kg and young bulls at 177.6p/kg.

Mr White believes that prices will remain at this level throughout January and may even increase slightly. But demand is likely to fall in February away as consumers start to pay of Christmas credit card bills, he said.

If, as expected, supplies increase, Mr White believes values will slip, perhaps by 4-6p/kg.