AHDB REPORTS: Cattle prices rose this week, amid increased activity from processors in the run up to Christmas, with estimated slaughterings 3% higher week on week at 32,500 head. The GB deadweight all prime average cattle price rose by 2.17p to 361.78p/kg. There were price increases across all the prime categories. Steers overall gained 1.7p to average 362.7p/kg, young bulls gained 4.4p to average 337.4p/kg and heifer prices averaged 364.5p/kg after going up by 2.8p/kg. Price gains were similar for carcases meeting R4L specifications, except in the case of young bulls, with prices for R4L young bulls falling by 8p to 342.1p/kg. Using a maturation date of 21 days or so and allowing for packing and distribution, the window for killing in time for Christmas is likely to come to an end in the next 2-3 weeks.
Demand at this time of year is weighted more towards prime animals for producing seasonal roasting joints than for cow beef, and that may have been reflected in the prices this week. Cows meeting -O4L specification fell by 1.2p/kg to average 259.1p/kg and overall prices fell by 0.5p to 230.6p/kg. Estimated slaughterings were also down slightly on the week to 12,300 head.