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LMC: Quotes Steady Despite Availability Tightening

23 July 2013

UK - Slaughter figures remain ahead of 2012 numbers at this stage, despite throughput falling slightly in Northern Ireland through last week, according to market analysts at the Livestock and Meat Commission.

Quotes from the plants this week for U-3 grade prime cattle have steadied at 364-370p/kg with the 8p/kg bonus available for steers and heifers that kill out in spec.

Quotes for good quality cows range from 275-300p/kg across the plants, say LMC experts.

There have been reports of a tightening in the availability of both prime cattle and cows as shed cattle numbers have started to dry up and grass cattle failing to appear in good numbers. The continuing good weather is also keeping producers busy with other farm work which may make transporting cattle for slaughter less of a priority.

Deadweight Cattle Trade

Throughput of prime cattle last week totalled 5,391 head, back 650 head on the previous week due to the shorterweek.

Throughput of prime cattle for the year to date has been 182,279 head, a 4.5 per cent increase on the 174,416 head slaughtered in the same period last year but the latest statistics indicate that the number of cattle aged 18-30 months on the ground is back three per cent year on year which could result in tighter supply as the year progresses. Lower carcase weights for the year to date have meant total beef production from prime cattle is up by only 0.5 per cent despite the four per cent increase in throughput.

With the 8p/kg drop in base quotes in NI plants last week the average steer pricewas down 5.5p/kg on the previousweek to 373.2p/kg while the average heifer price was down 7p/kg to 372.6p/kg. It is however worth noting that the base quote from the plant does not necessarily reflect the price being paid and should be considered as a starting point for negotiation.

The top quote available from the plants last week for an R-3 steerwas 360p/kg and if the 8p/kg bonus is included the top price available was 368p/kg. The average price paid howeverfor an R-3 steer last week was 382p/kg, 14p/kg higher than the highest quoted price.

Liveweight Cattle Trade

Average steer prices in GB last week were almost unchanged at 402.3p/kg but there was some variability across the regions. In Scotland average steer prices were up 2p/kg to 418.4p/kg while in Northern England the average steer price was back 3p/kg to 404.2p/kg.

LMC analysts report that average price in the Midlands was unchanged at 392.8p/kg while in Southern England prices were up 1.5p/kg to 385.9p/kg. Meanwhile average heifer prices in GB last week were up 1.4p/kg to 400.4p/kg. 

The drop in prices paid for prime cattle in NI last week has widened the price differential between NI and GB. The R3 steer price in NI last week was382.9p/kg while the GB average was 405.4p/kg putting the average differential at 22.5p/kg.

R3 steer prices in Scotland last week were 36.7p/kg higher than NI, in Northern England they were 20.3p/kg higher, in the Midlands they were 13.9p/kg higher and in Southern England they were 16.3p/kg higher.

Meanwhile prices paid for R3 steers in RoI were the equivalent of 15.8p/kg lower than the average R3 steer price in NI. In RoI last week the price paid for all reported grades of prime cattle were back on the previous week.

R3 steer and heifer prices were back in the region of 4p/kg to 367.1p/kg and 385.6p/kg respectively. The biggest decline however has been recorded for young bulls with prices back the equivalent of 8-9p/kg across the reported grades.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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