Cull cow market so far in 2018

Published 15 August 18

AHDB estimated cow slaughterings* have been running above last year throughout 2018, and have increased significantly since the end of June. The numbers are for both beef and dairy breeds.

At the start of the year prices were exceptionally strong with demand for manufacturing beef underpinning the market. This encouraged numbers forward. In June the GB deadweight overall cow price reached an average of 265p/kg, the highest since July 2013.

cull prices

Since the start of July, the dry weather led to an increase in supplies of cattle for slaughter, but with no corresponding increase in demand. As a result, prices have fallen rapidly, and there have been reports of significant waiting times for booking cattle in to abattoirs. By 4 August, the GB deadweight overall cow price stood at 224p/kg, a decline by 40p compared to five weeks earlier.

Slaughterings for the week ended 4 August declined significantly from the previous few weeks but continued to trend above year earlier levels. The lower prices was meaning slaughter was no longer as viable an option as previously.

cull slaughterings

Defra does not publish a breakdown of cow slaughterings by beef and dairy type. However, if we assume the same split as seen in auction markets, of the 8% (3,000 head) and 18% (8,800 head) extra animals slaughtered in June and July respectively compared with last year, around 5,000 could have come from dairy sired cows.

*Every week AHDB Beef and Lamb publishes GB estimated slaughterings along with prices for cows and prime cattle. These are then revised when Defra publish monthly slaughtering data but remain estimated due to Defra data being monthly rather than weekly.