According to the latest figures released by AHDB, deadweight cattle prices have shown another upward movement in the week ended April 10.

Similar to the previous week, the GB all-prime average gained just over 3p to reach 399.3p/kg. This is over 70p/kg more than the equivalent week in 2020, when prices began to fall sharply.

The cumulative increases in recent weeks have been significant and highlight the strength of the cattle trade at present.

Keen retail demand continues to be a feature of the market, and still seems to be keeping demand ahead of supplies coming forward. Estimated prime slaughter during the week totalled 30,100 head, 2% lower than the week before and 4% lower than the same week last year. This week contains a bank holiday, so a year-on-year decline would be expected.

It remains to be seen how the ongoing easing of lockdown, with the next stage planned for May 17, influences British cattle prices in the coming weeks. Strong retail demand is particularly positive for British beef demand, but as the foodservice market reopens, we might reasonably expect more competition from imported beef through these outlets.

Cow trade has also remained robust, with overall GB prices up by over 3p to 273.9p/kg. Those meeting –O4L spec gained 2.4p on the week to reach 290.3p/kg. The overall increase was driven by a nearly 4p price rise in England & Wales, as the overall Scottish price was down by over a penny. However, in-spec cow prices did make gains across GB. Numbers slaughtered were relatively low in the week, with estimates at 8,100 head.

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson sold 482 hoggs at Newton Stewart yesterday. Best types were easy to sell but leaner types were harder to cash.

Top prices were £153 for heavyweight Suffolks and 332p/kg for Texels to average 296p/kg overall. The 380 Blackface hoggs sold to a top of £150 and 316p/kg to average 299p overall.

Cast sheep continued to be a strong trade selling to £154 for Texel rams and the same for Texel ewes. Mule ewes sold to £122 with Blackfaces to £92.

C&D Auctions held its weekly sale of primestock in Dumfries where there were 59 OTM cattle sold on an improving market. Dairy types sold to £1290 and 160p/kg to average 126p, while beef types peaked at £1496 and 200p to average 149p. There was also a small end of season show of hoggs forward which saw the best sorts maintaining recent values. Top prices were 321p/kg and £143. Hoggs weighing between 39 and 45kg averaged 318p. Cast sheep were in short supply and sold to £142 for heavy Texel ewes, while Blackface ewes peaked at £78.