High livestock prices to combat rising production costs, says HCC

According to its latest monthly analysis, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) found that high market prices for cattle continue to provide some respite for producers amid rising production costs.

The HCC reports that average deadweight cattle prices in England and Wales have been firm in recent weeks, with the current steer average stabilizing at 437.9p/kg. That’s 46p above year-ago levels and significantly higher than the long-term average. Liveweight prices for new season lambs averaged 330.0p per kilo, which is also 66p above the 5-year average for the time of year.

Commenting on the figures, Katie Davies, vice-chairman of the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association Wales, said: ‘We continue to see buoyant trade in finished and cull rings for sheep and cattle. As the old season stock trade draws to a close, the new season lambs are currently looking for a promising trade. The upcoming Qurbani festival will hopefully create demand for the sheep sector which will keep prices high. The good yields that continue to be observed in the sheep and finished cattle sectors continue to affect the storage sectors, for both breeding animals and finishing animals.

Relatively high cattle prices in 2021 and 2022 partly explain the improved carcass conformation figures, recently released by the AHDB, according to the HCC analysis.

In its May Market Bulletin, the AHDB revealed that over the past two years the percentage of lamb carcasses achieving ‘R’ conformation in UK slaughterhouses has increased from 54.8% to 58.7 %, which means more animals reach the target customer. and market specifications.

In cattle, there has also been an increase in the percentage of animals meeting the standard specification, while carcass weights have also tended to be heavier over the past year.

“Consistently high beef cattle prices last year may have prompted some farmers to hold their animals longer to fatten them, which will partly explain the higher carcass weights,” the HCC data analyst explained. , Glesni Phillips.

“Overall the picture for carcass grading is positive, with more lambs meeting desired specifications and fewer overfat lambs, which is good news for reducing waste and improving efficiency. of the sector as a whole.

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