By FWi staff

THE rise in deadweight cattle prices over the past fortnight is expected to be short-lived as more cattle come on to the market.

Prices over the last couple of weeks have climbed about 11p/kg on the back of a shortage of cattle since January.

But the usual backlog at the start of the year and strong demand are not expected to last much longer.

Prices could slip back a little at the end of the month as more cattle enter the market and come out of retention, said Bob White of meat processors ABP.

“Well also get a situation where producers need to clear sheds for the start of lambing,” said Mr White.

“This will put downward pressure on the market as we go into March.”

Tim Bastable of Midland Meat Packers expects prices to fall even if quality remains good.

Values could slip back by more than 10p/kg over the coming weeks, he said

Andrew Chitty, of the Chitty Food Group, said that the recent hike in prices was not demand-led – demand had actually been weaker since Christmas.

It is more a shortage in numbers, along with the effects of the calf processing aid scheme, he said.

Nevertheless, prices will ease, but not dramatically, he concluded.