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Agribusiness News June 2024 – Beef

31 May 2024

Prices at Steak

The Scottish finished beef price in May has remained below the £5 per deadweight kg, sitting at £4.94/kg (down 3p/kg from the previous week) and at £4.95/kg for steers and heifers respectively grading R4L at week ending May 18.

Prices throughout May have fluctuated with Angus premiums falling short of £5/kg/dwt.

Price variations are being reported depending on processor, with reports suggesting that prices are not just dependent on supply but also breed, spec and customer loyalty.

Despite cattle availability in Scotland being tighter this spring due to the numbers of store cattle sold to England in 2023 and suckler cow numbers declining; in recent weeks, demand has relaxed from processors with reports suggesting that cattle supplies are greater than forecasted coupled with little demand for steak meat.

Young bulls will start to come onstream now which will help lift numbers, over the coming months, whilst steer and heifer availability looks to remain tight. Finishers are likely to resist offloading cattle, which usually happens when the fat price drops.


Going forward,  it is unlikely that prices will drop much further given the cattle availability of cattle across Europe and Irish beef production forecast to contract further following a 4.5% decline in 2023.

Traditionally, prime cattle availability drops in the summer months, with limited cattle in sheds and cattle at grass not quite ready, finishers will be hopeful of a lift in prices. Especially for those who bought expensive store cattle this spring.

Cull Cows

Cull cow prices remain strong with R4L prices sitting around 410p/kg.

Seasonal demand will influence trade for cull cows in the coming months, as we move into BBQ season, with demand looking to be higher in comparison to the wet summer of 2023 and the Euro 2024 football competition set to drive demand for grilling products.

While processors will be very conscious that greater demand for cheaper cuts such as burgers could create carcass balance issues; this is where good nationwide marketing campaigns can have a real effect in subtly drive up demand for higher value cuts of meat.

Grazing Cattle

With the big spring store cattle sales now behind us, numbers are dropping at weekly sales with less short keep cattle available.

‘Grass fever’ has hit the store ring with improved grass growth improving demand for grazing types.  However, several markets have reported a slight easing in trade which is most probably linked to a drop in finished price. Prices remain strong for heavier stores.

Big Beef Roadshow

Funded by the University Innovation Fund (UIF), SAC Consulting’s Big Beef Roadshow, will take place on the 11th of June at Knockenjig, Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire by kind permission of the Walker family.

The meeting will focus on timely and topical discussions on herd fertility, feed efficiency, animal health and welfare, and an update on cattle EID and the outlook for the beef market.

Local vets from SRUC and SAC consultants, will lead technical speaker sessions in the morning, with a farm tour in the afternoon. For more information visit:

Sarah Balfour,

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