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Prime cattle demand supports rising prices

Prime cattle prices have continued to rise, with demand boosted by the weak pound and the end of the summer holiday period.

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Prime cattle demand supports rising prices

Processors have reportedly been more active in the market, with the climb in prices suggesting the balance of trade was currently lying in producers’ favour, according to AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins.

 

The number of cattle coming forward over the week ending September 1 was also the lowest weekly kill since the bad weather affected throughputs in March, reflecting short supplies and the Bank Holiday weekend.

 

She said: “Looking at the five-year average, it is common for cattle prices to increase in early September, before falling back later in the month as supplies increase.


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“Following the hot summer, grass availability has now improved significantly, and with more cattle on the ground, some uplift in supply can indeed be expected in the coming weeks.

 

“This could stimulate downward price pressure in the market as autumn progresses.”

 

Store cattle prices have also seen some recovery post-drought, which AHDB suggested may reflect farmers becoming more optimistic about expected returns, despite concerns over winter housing costs.

 

On the retail side, chicken sales have outstripped demand for red meat, despite the hot weather boosting demand for burgers and sausages.

According to Kantar Worldpanel data for the 12 weeks ending August 12, burgers and sausages benefited from the hot weather. However, fresh primary beef sales were down 4.7 per cent year-on-year, with lamb dropping 4.7 per cent and pork down 14.1 per cent.

 

But the volume of chicken meat sold increased 3.8 per cent, with turkey up 12.8 per cent.

 

Nathan Ward, business unit director for meat, fish and poultry, said: “Poultry remains the big winner overall, with both primary and processed markets showing volume growth.

 

“Primary chicken continues to grow, fuelled by strong promotional support, with volumes sold on deal up 12 per cent year-on-year.”

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