Christmas Market Boost for Pork and Beef28 December 2012
UK - Beef and pig producers have seen strength in the Christmas market with beef, in particular, proving to be markedly resilient to the economic climate.
Prices have risen to 10 p/kg dwt (2.7 per cent) since the beginning of November while the pig price has improved 1 per cent over this period.
However, Stuart Ashworth, Quality Meat Scotland’s Head of Economics Services, pointed out that despite this improvement in price, prime cattle supplies have remained below last year’s levels as cattle are proving slow to finish.
“Latest slaughter statistics from across the UK show the extent to which cattle supplies are being squeezed. The prime kill is 5 per cent down during November and 7.5 per cent down over the year to the end of November.
“This level of decline across the UK, when set against the slightly higher volume of calf registrations in 2010 (compared to 2009), and the average age at slaughter continuing to be 21 to 22 months, suggests some backlog of cattle on farms going into 2013.
“Almost half of the decline in slaughtering is accounted for by heifers some of which may have been retained for breeding. Nevertheless, there remains a strong likelihood that there are more cattle to come onto the market over the next few months than has recently been the case,” added Mr Ashworth.
"The number of young bulls reaching abattoirs has started to increase almost exactly twelve months after the number of pure bred dairy bull calves registered with BCMS (British Cattle Movement Service) began increasing.”
While there is some possibility of an increased supply of cattle, it must still be recognised that on the basis of calf registrations, the current supply is likely to remain some 10 per cent below the levels seen before the introduction of de-coupled support payments in 2005.