Cattle prices firm on back of strong demand

GB cattle slaughterings may have fallen by as much as 8% in March, and strong demand means prices are likely to remain firm.

A report by AHDB Meat Services said bad weather contributed to the year-on-year decline. “But, as spring turnout seems some way off and feed supplies are likely under pressure, more cows may be entering the supply chain imminently,” it said.

With cattle numbers expected to remain tight, and demand firm, prices were likely to remain robust, added the report. “The expectation is that supplies of grass-fed cattle will be limited until well into the summer. The lack of any cheap feed alternatives may act as a barrier to some finishing enterprises, contributing to pressure on processors to increase prices.”

Lamb slaughterings in February were 110,000 head up on last year, at 896,000 head, said the report. Based on last year’s larger lamb crop, and lower slaughterings from June to November, AHDB expected the carryover of lambs to be between 150,000 and 400,000 head. “This would result in increased slaughterings for the remainder of the season but will likely avoid a glut that would severely depress finished prices.”

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