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Key Performance Update for Northern Ireland

19 December 2012

UK - The trade for finished cattle in Northern Ireland in November 2012 has been similar to the trade in November 2011, reports Livestock and Meat Commission.

The average prime cattle price during November 2012 was 318.4p/kg with an average R3 steer price of 328.9p/kg. These figures are in the region of 2p/kg above prices in November 2011 when the average prime cattle price was 316.8p/kg and the average R3 price was 327.1p/kg.

In ROI the average R3 steer price for the month of November 2012 was 303.5p/kg, 15.5p/kg less than the 319.0p/kg recorded in November 2011 (-4.9 per cent). Meanwhile in GB the R3 steer price has increased by 19p/kg when comparing November 2011 and November 2012, representing an increase of 5.6 per cent.

The throughput of prime cattle through the meat plants in NI in November 2012 totalled 34,286 head, a two per cent increase on the throughput in November 2011. However cow slaughterings during November 2012 were markedly higher than the previous November at 13,472 head (+20.4 per cent).

For 2012 to date there has been an overall trend towards higher carcase weights but when comparing November 2012 with the previous November carcase weights have actually declined slightly. The average prime carcase weight was down 4kg to 333kg (-1.4 per cent) while the average cow carcase was back 12kg to 285kg (-4.1per cent).

The plants have been reporting an increase in the proportion of under finished dairy cows in the kill which goes some way to explain the decline in the average cow carcase weight.

The average price paid for cull cows has also shown a decline between the two periods due to the increase in the dairy influence, back 14.7p/kg to 231.8p/kg (-6 per cent). The number of beef and dairy sired (male) cattle on the ground aged 12-30 months are used as an indication of total cattle numbers and future availability of cattle. Comparing November 2011 and November 2012 numbers have increased by 2.3 per cent (8,956 head).

The number of beef sired cattle has increased by 1.5 per cent while the number of dairy sired males has increased by 9.2 per cent. The future availability of cattle will also be influenced by the number of calf registrations. Calf registrations in November 2012 totalled 25,953, a 2.2 per cent reduction on the number in November 2011. In absolute terms this is a reduction of 597 calf registrations in November 2012 versus November 2011.

The availability of cattle is also influenced by the level of imports and exports of cattle for direct slaughter. In November 2012 imports for direct slaughter totalled 5,567 head, a 32.1 per cent increase on the 4,213 head imported in November 2011. During the same period exports for direct slaughter have totalled 2,984 head, a 76.3 per cent increase on the 1,693 head exported in November 2011.

The level of imports and exports are strongly influenced by the value of the euro against sterling. In November 2012 the average euro/sterling exchange rate was 80.4p compared to 85.7p in November 2011.

This reduction in the value of the euro has made cattle in ROI cheaper in sterling terms and has encouraged an increase in the movement of cattle across the border from ROI to NI for direct slaughter in recent months.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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