Beef prices set to rise into 2025 as supplies tighten

Lower throughputs of cattle in the UK later this year and into 2025 could help finished prices improve towards the end of 2024, according to analysis by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Average GB steer prices have been in decline for several months and have fallen by 20p/kg since the beginning of March, partly due to higher throughputs in April, May and June.

However, fewer youngstock on farm could lead to lower throughputs towards the end of the year.

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The Welsh levy body found there are 3% fewer prime beef cattle and dairy males under 12 months of age on farm currently than last year, at 1.9 million head.

Glesni Phillips, HCC intelligence, analysis and business insight executive, said: “In the longer term – looking at the end of this year and into 2025 – these factors are expected to impact domestic supplies.

“This reduction in youngstock numbers was to be expected, as calf birth registration numbers in GB last year fell more steeply than in previous years. We’ve seen this trend continue into quarter one of 2024, which suggests that supply further down the line will remain tight.

“These contributing factors all add up to the likelihood of greater market stability as they filter through towards the end of 2024.”

Current market

GB deadweight steers stood at 477.8p/kg for the week ending 22 June, while heifers averaged 475.8p/kg.

Ms Phillips said: “Several factors contribute to the present, almost weekly, marginally lower adjustment in prime cattle prices: increased short-term domestic supply; increased imports of Irish cattle and sluggish retail demand.”