Cattle market in producers' favour

For another week, there was upwards movement in the cattle trade demonstrating that the market remains comfortably settled in producers’ favour. 

In week ended 2 July, the all-prime average strengthened by another penny on the week to average 325.9p/kg. As such, the measure has now moved up 16p/kg over the past two months or so. Reports continue to suggest that, while processors maintain a cautious approach, there is still some competition in the market. Waiting lists for processing cattle of all types are still non-existent. The firmness in the market is most likely a reflection of a steadier retail environment than previously expected. However, imports from Ireland, which have been down year on year in the first four months of 2016, could well be slowing down even further, given the recent movement of sterling against the euro.

Average R4L steer and heifer values both moved up 2p on the week at 339.2p/kg and 338.5p/kg, respectively. R3 young bulls moved up a penny to 325.6p/kg. Despite the buoyancy in the market, prices do still remain below last year’s position and down on the five-year average. This time last year, prices were moving up sharply, consequently with a more subdued momentum this year, the year-on-year differential has widened in recent weeks. R4L steers were back around 10p/kg on last year through May and early June, in the latest week they were down over 20p/kg.

The cow trade was also firm again, -O4L cows strengthened another 2p on the week to 235.6p/kg. Again, this is against a backdrop of increasing marketing. Estimates suggest that, for the third week in a row, there was a sizeable increase in the number coming forward compared with last year. The weak value of the pound against the euro is undoubtedly adding some impetus to cow prices, given the commodity nature of the trade.

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