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AHDB Pig Market Weekly

02 May 2012

AHDB UK Market Survey - 27th April 2012AHDB UK Market Survey - 27th April 2012

Ongoing tight supplies of cattle have helped to keep cattle prices well above year earlier levels in the first quarter of the year.


Auction Market Update

Ongoing tight supplies of cattle have helped to keep cattle prices well above year earlier levels in the first quarter of the year. The overall prime cattle price, at 186.7p per kg, was up 34 pence year on year while throughputs were down almost eight per cent. This reflects the overall situation with GB slaughterings of prime cattle which were also down eight per cent on the year.

Of these prime cattle, young bull supplies were the tightest with a reduction of 12 per cent year on year. This has been largely as a result of lower dairy bull calf registrations on the back of increased feed costs in recent years. Steer and heifer throughputs were down seven and six per cent respectively. Over the three month period the average price of all categories of prime cattle were a third higher on the year, steers averaged 187.2p per kg while young bulls were 179.2p per kg. Heifers continued to command a premium at auction and averaged 190.7p per kg.

Tight supplies and ongoing demand for manufacturing beef has led to continued strong performance in cull cow values. Overall numbers at auction were eight per cent lower in the first quarter of the year, with prices 24 pence higher at 126.1p per kg for all cows.

Cattle Market Trends

GB R4L Deadweight Steer Price


In week ended 21 April the prime deadweight cattle price eased marginally on the week to average 339.2 p per kg. Reports suggest that the mild winter has contributed to reduced demand which may be curtailing the upwards pressure on prices to some degree. The average price of R4L steers fell a penny to 346.9p per kg, while R4L heifers were at a similar price to the week earlier at 345.4p per kg.

Estimated GB Prime Cattle Slaughterings 2012/11

In week ended 25 April prime cattle prices at GB auction markets also eased on the week. Steers and young bulls were back two pence on the week to 186.9p and 181.9p per kg respectively while heifers were back three pence at 190.4p per kg. Demand for quality cows remained firm, both on the domestic and export market, with major processors of cow beef looking to secure increased supplies. In the latest week the average price of cows at auction leveled on the week at 130.6p per kg.

EU Deadweight Cattle Prices 2011/12


Exports of fresh and frozen beef in February 2012 totalled 9,700 tonnes. As a result of the decline in production this was 13 per cent lower than in February 2011, however it still represented a significant uplift on trade in February 2010. There was a 21 per cent decline in shipments to the Netherlands, but increased trade to Ireland and France. Despite the fall in volume, the export trade was worth £32.7 million in February, an increase of almost four per cent, as the average unit price increased over 20 per cent on the year.

Imports of fresh and frozen beef into the UK during February totalled 19,000 tonnes, 21 per cent more than in the same month last year. According to HMRC import data shipments from Ireland increased and accounted for almost two thirds of the UK’s import requirements. However, production in Ireland in the first two months of the year was at a similar level to the year earlier. Shipments from UK’s main trading destinations in the EU increased, from the Netherlands up 30 per cent on the year, and from Germany and Spain up 66 and 72 per cent respectively. Imports from Uruguay were 11 per cent lower on the year and were less than half what they were in January 2010. In contrast, imports from some traditional non-EU destinations increased, from Brazil trade more than doubled year on year, while shipments from Australia were marginally higher compared with February 2011.

Beef Trade Jan-Feb

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