Market in balance for finished cattle

Finished cattle stayed fairly level again this week as the market continued to show signs of balance.

The GB all-steers deadweight average dipped slightly to 350.1p/kg, from 351.6p/kg the week before. All heifers dropped just 0.2p/kg to 353.1p/kg, while young bulls came back 1.9p/kg to 319.6p/kg.

The picture was similar at the marts, as all finished steers dropped 1.74p/kg to 177.96p/kg and heifers came back 1.79p/kg to 193.26p/kg.

An Eblex report said the all-prime deadweight average had strengthened by more than 20p/kg since the start of August, despite throughputs being up by about 15,000 head over the period.

“This means the supply and demand balance has consistently been in producers’ favour, with processors looking to secure adequate supplies of cattle,” the report said.

“The situation could be maintained as the peak seasonal buying period approaches.”

Figures for September put UK prime cattle slaughtering up 1% on the year to 151,300 head. Steer throughput was up 10% at 79,400 head, representing the highest level for that month since 2011, but heifer numbers were back 2%.