Meat & Livestock News

Weekly Cattle and Sheep Market Update

TL;DR: Cattle prices slightly fell while cow prices rose last week in the UK. Sheep prices increased due to tight supply, with stable demand in retail and exports.

Cattle Market Trends

Last week, GB deadweight prime cattle prices fell slightly, dropping below the figures from the same week in 2023. The steer average decreased by 1.7p to 488p/kg, young bulls saw a 1.5p reduction to 468p/kg, and heifers dropped by 0.7p to 486p/kg overall.

Cow Prices Rise

Contrary to the general trend, cow prices increased, rising by 2.3p to reach 355p/kg. However, this is still 28p lower than last year.

Regional Price Variations

Prices varied regionally. In the south, prices for heifers and steers rose, but in the north, they declined. Scottish prices particularly fluctuated, closely matching those of Northern England recently.

Supply and Demand Dynamics

Cattle supply was tight with 30,700 prime cattle processed, slightly down from the previous week but comparable to last Easter. Cow slaughters decreased to an estimated 8,000 heads, reflecting a slight increase from last year’s Easter.

Retail Sales Insights

GB retail data from the 12 weeks leading to mid-March shows an increase in steak and sous vide sales, with mince remaining stable. Recent trends indicate a rise in demand for round cuts as the summer buying season begins.

Sheep Market Insights

Sheep Prices Climb

In the sheep sector, prices edged higher due to limited supply. The GB OSL SQQ rose by 13.2p to 830p/kg, marking a significant year-on-year increase of 224p.

Slaughter Figures

Sheep slaughter was low, totalling 167,300 heads during the short week, a decrease from the previous week and the same period last year.

Ramadan Impact

The end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr likely supported the price increase in the latest report. However, trade has been mixed in recent days, affected by the extended wet weather impacting lamb quality.

Consumer Demand and Exports

GB retail data shows continued strong demand for lamb, especially roasting cuts. Meanwhile, prices at Paris’s Rungis market remained stable over the past week, reflecting steady export demand.