Market report: Store cattle prices firm

Autumn store sales have reported strong demand for all classes of cattle in England and Wales, reflecting higher finished cattle prices.

The average price for 18-month-old black-and-white steers in October was 11% higher than a year earlier, at £429 a head, said the AHDB’s UK Market Survey. Hereford cross steer values increased by 10%, to £564 a head, with Continental steers 13% up at £728. Heifers were also in demand, with 18-month-old Hereford crosses averaging £457 a head – up 10% – and Continental heifer prices rising by 16% to £623.

Rearing calves had also traded strongly at auction markets during September and October, said the report. “Demand for black-and-white bull calves has been firm, as abattoirs look to source dairy-bred bulls as supplies of prime cattle continue to tighten.”

Black-and-white bull calves averaged £38 a head in October – £11 up on last year. “However, prices at that time were historically low due to the loss of the live export trade following positive TB tests on UK calves exported to Holland.” Hereford bull calf prices had increased by almost 50%, with the Continental bull calf trade up by 20%, to £225 a head.