The price of cattle remains firm this week, with bases in and around 360-365p/kg with supplies remaining on the tighter side. There is a ready competition for cattle with some factories struggling to achieve required throughputs, which always helps the price, but with bank holidays coming up, cattle requirements are slightly reduced. At this stage the cattle trade is unlikely to change significantly in the short-term.
Store cattle remain in very firm demand, with lush spring grass generally plentiful and finishers continuing to be anxious about maintaining volumes coming through their yards.
Cull cows are getting tighter and tighter, with a few key players holding significant volumes of feeding cows. Good R grades are achieving up to 290p/kg and this is likely to get closer to the 300p. The main reason for the tighter volumes is that the significant reductions in the suckler herd has probably stopped with beef producers looking to maintain or increase numbers ahead of any Brexit settlement. The dairy herd has also seen huge culls in the numbers of ‘passengers’ and older cows, with age profiles generally younger than what it has been of late so the supply of cull dairy cows is significantly reduced.
The hogget trade is really at a tipping point at the moment with base prices in the last week having achieved values up to 410p/kg, with geographic supply and demand at extremes. New Season lambs in the South of England are coming forward very fast with the very open Spring, resulting in some of the major Southern players having stopped killing hogget’s. That said we expect demand for Scottish hogget’s to remain as Scottish factories tied to Scotch only product will be several weeks before they are able to switch over.
Spring lambs began the week at 530p/kg with prices under pressure due to increased volumes coming forward and a lack of abattoir demand. Scottish firms are unlikely to commence on Spring lambs for a few weeks yet.
The shortage of organic cattle rolls on and on and prices have remained in the region of 480p/kg once again. More organic cattle needed!! Organic hogget’s are a touch sharper, with prices rising from 415p/kg at the start of the week. More needed.