Prices this week have seen a welcome rise with quotes increasing to 326-330p/kg from 310-316p/kg the previous week.
The increase in prices is long over due following a number of weeks where trading conditions proved difficult for beef finishers. Over the course of the last number of weeks the UFU Beef and Lamb Committee has continued to monitor the weekly quotes vs the official prices paid.
During the week of Balmoral Show total cattle slaughtered numbered 7,464 however the following week saw total slaughterings increase to 8,174. Since then we have seen cattle supplies tighten significantly with only 6,353 slaughtered last week, representing a 22% reduction since the week after Balmoral.
This appears to have tipped the supply demand balance on its head and put producers back on a stronger footing.
Indeed it would appear from the Indicator that prices bottomed out on the week beginning 18/05/15 with producers finding it more difficult to secure higher prices above base. Since then as plant supplies have become less secure the official prices paid have edged higher week on week with prices for R-3 cattle in particular showing a notable increase in the week ending 14/06/15.
While these higher prices above base may be dependent on a number of factors, once again it demonstrates that there is more available from the market than those initial quotes.
With reports this week that finishers with quality lots of in spec animals are securing prices well above base the UFU would encourage producers to explore all their options carefully before parting with cattle.