The beef trade starts 2021 with plenty of positivity as finished cattle prices edge upwards. Farmers selling cattle this week report prices deals of up to 390p/kg offered for in-spec animals, in order to satisfy growing demand for fresh beef from UK retailers.
A number of factories put 6p/kg on to base quotes this week to match others on 366p to 368p/kg for U-3 grading animals. However, the reality is that much more is available to regular suppliers, and farmers are in a strong position to negotiate on price.
Cattle supplies are tight, partly because some larger finishers offloaded significant numbers during December so that they could avail of the 4% flat rate VAT payment on sales
Indications are that 380p/kg is widely available on steers and heifers, with deals on offer above this level, depending on the number of cattle brought forward.
The market for cows is also strong, with prices in the region of 300p to 320p/kg for R grading animals, with farmers reporting that deals are easier to come by on younger animals.
Cattle supplies are tight, partly because some larger finishers offloaded significant numbers during December so that they could avail of the 4% flat rate VAT payment on sales.
From 1 January, new rules exclude those from the scheme with an annual business turnover above £230,000.
The latest lockdown restrictions across the UK are expected to drive retail sales of Red Tractor quality assured beef during the first quarter of the year, thereby keeping a floor under the trade over the coming weeks.
Figures from market research firm, Kantar show that December 2020 was the busiest month ever for UK supermarkets, and over the 12 weeks to 27 December, grocery sales were up 11.4%.
Lamb prices are also on the rise, fuelled by increased processing demand, tight supplies and increased competition from buying agents working for Irish plants.
Reports indicate deals as high as 500p/kg have been paid this week as local processors look to keep pace with a £2 to £4 per head increase in prices paid in marts.
The trade is also rising in Britain with lambs in Scotland making 505p/kg
Prices at Republic of Ireland factories have crossed the €6/kg mark, which converts to a sterling price of 510p/kg.
The trade is also rising in Britain with lambs in Scotland making 505p/kg, while the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) report that the Standard Quality Quotation (SQQ) price from marts in Britain is at 244p/kg, up 20p/kg from late December.