Beef cattle price improvement continues

Beef prices have continued to improve after bottoming out in late June and early July.

In the week to 30 August, the all-prime steers price increased by 3.4p/kg, to 342.3p/kg deadweight, while the R4L average rose by 1.6p to 350.3p/kg. That was 12.7p above the trough reached in late June, and the highest level since mid-May, when values started to fall.

“This price rise has evidently come as demand has improved, meaning the supply and demand balance has modestly swung in producers’ favour,” said a report by Eblex. “With dwindling cold store stocks, as the summer holiday demand for burgers continued, competition among processors appears to have been notably stronger.”

Waiting lists had disappeared and price negotiations were reported to have been more favourable of late, it added. “Reports suggest the better trading conditions were of particular benefit to cattle previously penalised for being outside supermarket specification.”

Irish cattle supplies remained robust and throughputs may rise in the short-term as the flow of grass-fed cattle increased, said the report. However, the longer-term outlook was more positive, with tighter availability in GB and Ireland forecast throughout 2015 and into 2016.

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