Renewed beef finisher confidence has supported store cattle prices, with deadweight price increases lifting old yarding cattle by £80-£100 a head at some centres this month.
Base prices have lifted about 40p/kg since late April, adding £140-£150 to some carcass values.
But these gains have inevitably been eroded by dearer cattle, with some marts reporting a resurgence in interest in cattle, helped by recent rain and better beef prices.
A slight increase in numbers has not hampered cattle trade at Mold, where forward stores have seen a major change in fortunes of late.
Last Friday (19 June) a 23-month-old bullock topped with Limousins at £1,195 and an Angus made £1,115. A two-year-old Limousin heifer made £1,115 and a 22-month-old Simmental made £1,060.
A total of 347 stores were sold last week, with 239 head sold at the main Friday sale. Auctioneer James Griffiths of J Bradburne Price said the entry was two thirds dairy bred.
“We are seeing very good numbers for the time of year,” he told Farmers Weekly. “Trade has brought cattle forward and convinced people to come to market who might have stayed away a bit recently.”
He said forward stores had lifted by about £100 a head over the past six weeks as confidence had been reignited due to deadweight contracts, but also by liveweight cattle making £1,500 a head and more.
Forward store cattle have gained 15-18p/kg since the start of the month at Market Drayton.
Auctioneer Ben Baggott of Barbers has seen rain and beef price increases keep demand for all types of cattle very keen as grass covers have increased.
He said vendors of older “yarding type cattle” had seen prices lift over a period of a fortnight in June, adding that a higher proportion of yarding animals had been making above 200p/kg.
Last week (17 June) the forward stores were a “tremendous trade”, selling at £900-£1,150 in general and the best Angus steers topping at £1,130.
Each week the mart typically sells 200-250 head in the store section. Last week 80-100 head were older yarding cattle.
“The rain has just helped keep interest in cattle strong again after people were starting to get short of grass,” Mr Baggott said. “The short-keep cattle that will go in a shed for 80-90 days and be finished are a very good trade again.”