Store cattle prices rise as beef sector confidence rebuilds

Store cattle prices have risen by about £50 a head in the last few weeks, according to the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA).

Lower numbers of cattle brought to market and signs of recovery in finished prices were rebuilding confidence, the body said.

Chris Voyce of Gloucestershire auctioneers Voyce Pullin said supplies remained tight which was giving support to prices.

“The lower feed costs and the abundance of grass and fodder has led to people wanting to stock up again,” he said.

“Store cattle area about £50 dearer than three weeks ago.

“We’re not quite where we were a year ago, but we’re steadily building back up.”

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Bill Nelson of North West Auctions said trade in 24-26 month cattle had been up £50-60 a head at Lancaster.

“Supply of store cattle is not as good as it was – numbers are definitely down,” he said.

“We’ve found that there are more cattle coming from the dairy sector into the store trade.

“Just this week, meatier types of black and whites are starting to attract a better price.”

The GB all-steers deadweight price hit a bottom of 326.9p/kg at the start of July and has crept up to 334.4p/kg in the last month.

At the markets, the all-steers liveweight average was 182.5p/kg in the week ending 19 August – 8.3p/kg higher than a month earlier.

LAA executive secretary Chris Dodds said fat cattle in the ring had become better to sell, with prices rising, and he expected that to continue as supply continued to tighten.

“The recovery of the store cattle price has started to feed through to the prime market and we’re moving close to having a viable beef industry once more,” he said.

“The outlook for the market as a whole is definitely getting better.”