QMS reports stabilised prime cattle prices as market becomes more balanced

QMS reports stabilised prime cattle prices as market becomes more balanced

The imbalance between supply and demand appears to be easing, helping to stabilise prime cattle prices, according to Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

Stuart Ashworth

Stuart Ashworth.

Stuart Ashworth, QMS head of economics services, said that in the week ending 23rd May, Scottish price-reporting abattoirs handled almost eight per cent fewer cattle than last year and English and Welsh abattoirs nearly four per cent fewer.

In terms of prime cattle arriving at price-reporting abattoirs in Scotland, numbers have been lower than last year consistently since February. However, prices had fallen steadily between March and mid-May, reflecting weak demand.

“The stabilisation of prime cattle prices and a modest increase for some grades suggests that the demand side of the equation has now firmed,” Ashworth said.

“Delays in getting cattle into abattoirs are reportedly shortening, suggesting that processor requirements have picked up. Nevertheless, producer prices remain some four per cent lower than last year having fallen ten per cent since the turn of the year.”

“The 2013 year saw miserable spring weather have a telling effect on mortality and calf growth and also impacted on cow condition at mating for the spring 2014 calf crop. This evidence suggests that this tightness of supply, compared with last year, will continue for the next six months or so.”

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