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Despite steady consumption, uncertainty still defines the UK beef market.

18 February 2020

Beef producers are still sceptical of beef market growth despite early signals of increasing prices.

According to reporting in the Farmers Guardian, auction values had been inching higher since October 2019, but corrected in January. Since the beginning of this year, values have slipped to around two percent below their price one year ago.

In the week ending 8 February, steer prices were averaging 333p/kg deadweight, nearly five percent below 2019 figures. According to Duncan Wyatt of AHDB, cow beef prices were still performing well, with average prices topping 230/kg for the same week. This figure is 6.5 percent higher than the year before.

“Cow prices are above their five-year average with a decent demand for processing beef. We predict cow slaughterings to be 50,000 head down this year, which should keep the market right” Wyatt said.
A reduced demand for cuts of beef is still overshadowing the prime cattle market, but the small reduction in predicted slaughtering may sustain the market.

According to the analysis in the Farmers Guardian, the UK's beef consumption has remained steady despite raising interest in plant-based meals and attacks on ruminant production. AHDB expects overall beef consumption to slip in the UK from 1.104 million tonnes to 1.102 million tonnes in 2020, and to reduce to 1.090 million tonnes by 2022.

Read the full story in the Farmers Guardian.


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