Beef and lamb markets wait for festive trade

Beef and lamb markets remain relatively subdued, awaiting signs of the seasonal uplift in demand.

Deadweight cattle trade improved slightly in the week to 20 November, with the R4L average steer price rising by 1.4p/kg, to 399.3p/kg. “Many processors are managing their stocks carefully, awaiting retail orders before coming to the market to cover the upcoming holiday period,” said a report by EBLEX.

Average heifer prices were 1.2p/kg easier on the week, at 388.3p/kg, while young bulls were 5.6p weaker, at 354.1p/kg. “Cattle outside required specifications are proving difficult to sell, particularly young bulls over 16 months of age and any plainer steers and heifers.”

However, average prime cattle prices were still more than 10% up on the year. “With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling mid-week, the holiday period is likely to be drawn out, meaning there is still plenty of time for robust consumer demand to prevail. The next two to three weeks will be the key procurement period.”

With the expected winter rise in demand yet to kick in, deadweight lamb prices eased by 1.2p/kg in the week to 20 November, to an R3L average of 403.2p/kg.

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