UK cattle prices rise into new year - AHDB

Prices hit historic highs in December
calendar icon 15 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Following on from historic highs in December, UK cattle prices continued to rise in January 2023, according to a market report from AHDB analyst Isabelle Shohet. The GB all-prime deadweight cattle price averaged 454.7p/kg during the month, up 13p from December’s average and up 48p year-on-year.

GB steer prices averaged 456.2p/kg overall in January, 12p ahead of December and up 49p on the average recorded for January 2022. Weekly prices appreciated continuously as the month progressed, up 15p from the first week to the last.

For heifers, weekly prices saw steeper growth, up 17p during January, with a monthly average of 454.8p/kg. This was a further increase from December’s average, by 14p, and up 48p compared to January 2022.

Growth in average young bull prices showed more fluctuation but remained on an upward trajectory, peaking in the final week at 440.3p/kg. For the month, the measure averaged 435.9p/kg. This was higher than averages for both December and January 2022, up 15p and 47p, respectively.

Cow prices increased 21p during the month of January, ending at a high of 366.8p/kg. The average overall cow price for January was 358.1p/kg, up 30p from December. The price increase year-on-year for cows was 86p on average.

Estimated prime cattle slaughter for January was 151,000 head, up 3% (4,800 head) year-on-year. Weekly slaughter generally increased as the month progressed, dipping in the week ending 28 Jan but then returning to growth. Average weekly slaughter stood at just over 30,000 head.

Estimated cow slaughter stood at 45,600 head in January, up 7% (3,900 head) year-on-year. The weekly average kill was 11,500 head for January.

Sustained price growth against more cattle forward nationally would suggest strong competition for cattle at present. Cow prices typically experience growth in the first half of the year, as post-Christmas sees strong demand for mince and manufacturing beef. Likewise, Irish cattle prices are also rising strongly at present despite more numbers forward, with cow values seeing particular uplift.

Monthly average prices are based on statistical months.

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