Market report: Store cattle prices higher despite pressure on finishers

Store cattle prices matched weaker finished markets throughout 2010, reflecting the increased availability and subdued demand for beef. But they remained considerably higher than levels seen prior to 2009, amid generally tight supplies of beef-bred store cattle, said AHDB Meat Services‘ latest report.

“Dairy-bred cattle prices were significantly down in 2010 as high feed prices and increased numbers affected demand. Yearling steer prices fell 11% year on year, to average £305 a head. Older cattle fared better, with 18-month-old steers averaging £440 a head and two-year-olds £535 a head, declines of only 6% and 5%, respectively.”

Values of Continental beef-bred steers also fell, but at a significantly lower rate. “The average price for yearling steers declined £1 a head, year on year, to £647.” Continental heifer prices remained stable amid tighter supplies.

“Some beef herds may have retained heifers for breeding and there has been some competition for store heifers to be used as breeding cattle. Yearlings recorded a 1% increase, averaging £547 a head, while the average price of a two-year-old continental heifer increased marginally, to £681 a head.”