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AHDB Pig Market Weekly

11 July 2012

AHDB UK Market Survey - 6 July 2012AHDB UK Market Survey - 6 July 2012

As the market remained buoyant, in week ended 30 June the overall prime cattle deadweight average price strengthened almost two pence on the week to 340.5p per kg.


Auction Market Update

The total number of cattle sold through GB livestock markets in the first six months of the year was down eight per cent on the year at 153,000 head. This is in line with the decline in prime cattle slaughtering over the same period. Steer and heifer throughputs both fell by eight per cent while young bull throughputs were nine per cent lower. These tightened supplies have done much to keep prices buoyant. Overall the average liveweight prime cattle price in the first six months of the year was 187.6p per kg, an increase of almost 30 pence year on year. This was driven by similar increases for all classes of prime cattle.

Supplies of cull cows at GB auction markets have also been considerably tighter than in 2011. At 95,000 head cow numbers in first half of the year were eight per cent lower than 2011 levels. This reflects the decline in national slaughterings, which in the year to May were down six per cent on the year. The number of dairy cows marketed at auction were only three per cent lower while beef bred animals were down nine per cent. As with prime cattle these tight supplies have created upwards pressure on prices and at 128.1p per kg the all cow average price in the first six months of the year was almost 18 pence higher on the year.

Throughputs of lambs in the first six months of the year were only two per cent lower year on year at 2.76 million head. However, there is some disparity between the number of old season and new season lambs. Throughputs of old season lambs were marginally higher year on year at 2.15 million head while in contrast throughputs of new season lambs were back 11 per cent. While the new season seemed to start earlier severe disruptions in recent weeks has contributed to the tighter supply.

As with throughputs there is considerable differences between old and new season lamb prices. In the first three months of the year prices remained buoyant and tracked above 2011 levels. This has resulted in the prices for old season lambs being comparable with 2011. Overall the OSL SQQ price was two pence higher than in 2011, at 201.8p per kg. With prices falling in the post Easter period new season values have consistently tracked below the exceptional levels recorded in 2011. At 203.2p per kg the average NSL SQQ price was 24 pence lower year on year.

Cattle Market Trends


As the market remained buoyant, in week ended 30 June the overall prime cattle deadweight average price strengthened almost two pence on the week to 340.5p per kg. The average price of all categories of cattle increased on the week with the price of R4L steers up two pence to 349.2p per kg while R4L heifers were three pence dearer at 348.7p per kg. At 334.5p per kg, the average price of R3 young bulls was up a penny on the week.

Cow prices have increased almost every week this year as numbers have been significantly down on the same period a year ago. However, in the latest week the overall cow price eased two pence to 271.4p per kg. Despite this, the shortage of cull cows is likely to continue for at least the next few months, which will result in strong demand continuing and prices remaining firm.

In the week ended 4 June the prime cattle average price at GB auction markets was little changed on the week at 191.8p per kg. The average steer price levelled at 192.9p per kg while heifers were also at a similar price to the week earlier at 196.9p per kg. Young bulls were almost a penny dearer at 185.1p per kg.


According to the latest Kantar Worldpanel data in the 52-week period ending 10 June 2012 household purchases of fresh and frozen beef were at a similar level to the year earlier at 302,000 tonnes. In addition, the number of households buying beef remained at a similar level to those in the corresponding period a year earlier. Expenditure increased six per cent to £1.98 billion as a result of a similar increase in the average retail price. Sales of second quality stewing beef were six per cent up on the year while household purchases of mince were back two per cent.

In the 12-week period ending 10 June 2012, purchases declined five per cent on the year. Expenditure increased seven per cent to £440 million, as increased retail prices more than offset the lower household purchases. With the exception of second quality stewing beef, sales of all cuts were lower year on year. In the 12-week period household purchases of roasting joints performed worst, sales of first quality roasting joints were back 11 per cent whilst sales of second quality joints were 21 per cent lower on the year. Largely as a result of increased promotional activity sales of second quality stewing beef increased six per cent on the year and accounted for over 10 per cent of all beef purchases in the 12-week period.

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