Beef and veal supply expected to remain tight

AHDB Market Intelligence and Eblex forecasts suggest that while beef and veal supply is expected to be up on last year, the long-term situation will remain tight.

The Defra June 2013 census, supported by British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) data, indicates potential for a modest increase in short-term slaughter supplies, with increases in male cattle over two years and of one to two years of age.

As market conditions failed to encourage the sale of cattle in the final quarter of last year, extra cattle are expected to come forward in the first half of 2014.

Carcase weights are expected to rise in 2014, which will lead to an in increase prime cattle production of 2%.

However BCMS data from October showed that the number of cattle under one year of age was back on the year, while calf birth registrations to November were well down. This has implications for the longer-term supply of quality beef.

Export volumes are set to remain level, and firm demand is likely to support export prospects, although the strengthening of the pound sterling could undermine this.

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