Store cattle prices hold up in tough 2015

Store cattle values have held up well in the first half of the year, despite finished prices tumbling.

AHDB analysis shows store prices have dropped since January, but not as dramatically as the fat trade.

The GB all-steers deadweight average dropped more than 10% from mid-January to mid-May, slumping to 326p/kg.

See also: Irish cattle supplies to tighten and firm UK beef trade

In the first five months of the year, the average price of yearling steers in England and Wales rose 3% for dairy-bred beasts and 6% for Herefords. But continental yearling values dropped 4%.

Trade for older animals was tougher, due to the closer link with the finished trade.

Continental steers at 18 months lost 11% of value from January to May, while Herefords were back just 7%.

Two-year-old steer values also suffered.

Dairy-bred values dropped 12%, as they are more exposed to competition from imports and the strong pound. Herefords were down 6%.

AHDB senior analyst Debbie Butcher said the trade for younger animals was “particularly buoyant”, pointing at better finished prospects ahead.

“It does appear that there is a little bit of a disconnect between the store trade and the finished trade,” she said.

“Although prices have been under some degree of pressure in the first three months of the year, the longer-range outlook is still pretty robust.