Yearling continental store cattle back £20 on year

The usual spring lift in store cattle trade has been restrained by falling deadweight beef prices, forcing finishers to buy to stricter budgets.

However, grazing cattle trade is firm and running close to last year’s levels as timely rains have followed good drying weather to stoke demand.

There is a bleaker picture on the deadweight front, where processors have cut beef prices since lockdown, taking 12.1p/kg off an average R4L carcass in April.

This means a finisher is getting £44 less for a 370kg carcass worth £1,242 (335.8p/kg).  

See also: Continental store cattle prices back £50 a head

<tr”>Source: AHDB England and Wales figures

Store cattle prices for continental and continental-cross yearling steers


















Store cattle trade is “within a pinch” of last year’s values at Leek’s fortnightly sales, where auctioneer Mark Elliot and the team sold 196 steers at £744 and 204 heifers at £729 last weekend (2 May).

At the older end of the entry, good strong continental Limousin cattle made £1,080-£1,150 and an Angus-sired beast made £1,080 at 23.5 months. Hereford bullocks topped at £1,140.

The best of the young suckler-bred cattle hit £1,000 at just under 14 months of age.

“The very best young cattle are just as dear if not dearer than last year,” said Mr Elliot. “Longer-keep buyers are putting them out to grass now. They are splashing out and going for it.”

He stressed that short-keep cattle were being discounted due to recent deadweight price drops.


The biggest store cattle entry of the season so far reported a steady trade across the board at Thainstone last week (1 May), despite only half the buyers present due to lockdown restrictions.

Social distancing restrictions meant only 58 buyers could be present, which was about half of last year’s attendance. About 100 cattle were sold via online bidding.

Bullocks were 5p/kg back on the year at 218.8p/kg and heifers were back 6.5p/kg at an average of 214.5p/kg.

The entry of 2,051 store cattle included 1,147 bullocks, which topped at 270p/kg and £1,325.

John Angus, head of livestock at Aberdeen and Northern Marts, said: “That was our fifth sale under restrictions and trade has held up pretty well.

“The cull cows are a flying trade, which is where the trade is. It’s mostly for processing beef, while the prime cattle are not coming into enough money in the meantime.”

He said 60% of the entry was 10-13 months old and mostly wholly suckler-bred and Limousin, Simmental or Charolais-sired.

Grazing cattle were in good demand, with many younger grazing cattle at 240-250p/kg at 350kg and more.