Slowed demand for beef sees cattle prices fall

Beef processors were balancing their supplies tightly and drawing fewer cattle forward, helping to keep a lid on prices last week, according to reports.

Liveweight prices fell across the board in the week to 23 October, with young bull prices dropping 2.9p to 180.8p/kg, cow prices down 2.3p to 106p/kg and steer and heifer prices falling by 1.5p and 1.3p to 197.9p/kg and 205.7p/kg respectively.

In the week to 19 October, the GB all prime cattle indicator fell back 2p to 391.4p/kg, as cattle supplies were ahead of demand, which was somewhat subdued due to mild weather in recent weeks.

“However, with the seasonal uplift in demand expected soon and with supply and demand still finely balanced, it is likely that upwards pressure on price will reassert itself,” said EBLEX.

While demand for manufacturing beef appeared to be seasonally subdued, this latest fall was potentially more of a quality issue as producers look to market their plainer cows ahead of winter, said the levy body.

“Additionally, better quality animals are likely to be kept for further feeding, as increased feed availability and lower prices afford producers this opportunity. These animals may instead come forward in the new year,” it added.

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