Beef prices break £3/kg barrier for first time

Average beef prices have broken through the 300p/kg barrier for the first time, as supplies tighten and costs rise.

The AHDB Meat Services deadweight R4L steer price for Great Britain averaged 302.5p/kg last week, some 26p (9%) above the same time last year. The overall average prime cattle deadweight price was 293.9p/kg deadweight.

“For producers, it is encouraging to see the beef price break through the 300p/kg barrier. It’s an inevitable consequence of shortened supply and rising costs of production,” said Nick Allen, EBLEX sector director.

“It will bring beef farmers closer to a sustainable price, because most have been losing money on every beast for some considerable time.”

He expected the strong price trend would continue as costs continued to rise and global supplies tightened further.

National Beef Association director, Kim Haywood, said the strengthening prices meant market income would soon approach levels that would help good managers defeat rising costs and reduced CAP support payments. In turn, it would help producers decide whether to reinvest for the future.

“The message from processors to finishers is if they pay the best prices on offer each week they can expect to be able to build a secure and loyal group of suppliers, who will commit themselves to deliveries well into the future.”

“However, the NBA would be more confident if it could be sure their retail customers had grasped, at last, that good cattle are already in short supply and processors needed additional income to cover the greater expense of gathering enough of the right types of cattle each week to meet retail orders,” Ms Haywood added.