Young bull trade on the mend

By FWi staff

MORE plain, dairy-bred young bulls hitting markets and abattoirs have suppressed prices, but the trade is showing signs of recovery in line with the progress made in steer and heifer values.

Pundits feared the worst after the calf processing schemes termination in July last year, saying the beef market would be flooded with poor quality stock.

Certainly, auctioneers suggest the increase in numbers and variation in quality is apparent, although trade for the better sorts continues to hold up.

“Prices were hit about a fortnight ago but the regular draw of Friesian corn-fed bulls from local dairy farmers are still making 80p/kg, while the bottom end is – at the extreme – making just 60p/kg,” comments Uttoxeter-based Norman Tweddle.

Overall, national price reports suggest young bull averages are up marginally under 2p/kg on last week.

Medium sorts (465-555kg) made the most progress – up almost 3p/kg on the week – while other weights rose just under 1p/kg.

Deadweight buyers are expected to review the recent price cuts, introduced as the beef sector struggled with the flood of stock brought off grazing as the weather deteriorated.

Last weeks price offers from plants saw R 3 and 4Ls level at 158-159p/kg deadweight.

However, auctioneers point out that trade still remains finely balanced with weekly slaughterings, now around 6700 head, up almost 1900/week on a year ago.

That increase has helped push prices down 5% on the same point last year.

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