Beef cattle which meet the supermarket specifications are considerable easier to sell in the UK, according to the AHDB.

In November of last year, a number of processors, most notably ABP and Dunbia introduced carcass weight and age limits.

This limits were introduced to meet the supermarket retail specifications, which resulted in over age and over weight cattle being penalised by as much as 15p/kg (19c/kg).

The AHDB reported that during March, factory buyers were more selective with the cattle they purchased, focusing more on cattle which met the desired supermarket specifications.

But, cattle which fell foul of the factory specs came under price pressure during March.

Due to the tighter specs and good cattle supplies the average March UK beef price dropped by 6p/kg.

The AHDB also shows that factory buyers can afford to be selective in the cattle they buy, as queues to get cattle slaughtered are starting to form for all types of cattle.

Going forward, it suggests that the delay in slaughter may result in cattle becoming over fat and over weight which will result in price penalties.

Another beef price fall in the UK

UK prime cattle prices for the week ending March 26 fell by 2.3p/kg, figures from the AHDB show. This leaves the UK deadweight price cattle average price at 322.3p/kg.

This continues the downward trend since the beginning of 2016, with prices appearing to come under renewed downward pressure in the last two weeks.

This follows from earlier weeks when the trade weakened during February and the beginning of March, as a result of supplies outstripping demand, the AHDB reports.

During the week ending March 26, UK R3 steers dropped by 2.7p/kg on the week before, sitting at an average price of 329p/kg.

The week-on-week heifer price has also dipped slightly, with UK R3 heifers falling by 1.6p/kg last week to an average price of 331p/kg.

However, despite the fall in heifer and steer price, UK young bulls posted a slight increase in price last week, increasing from 310.7p/kg during the week ending March 19 to 312.6p/kg last week.

AHDB beef prices 142016

Cull cows

Cull cow prices in the UK improved slightly last week, up by 3p/kg on the week before, according to the AHDB.

This means that UK cull cows have now recovered most of the ground they lost during the previous week.

The AHDB also reports that the number of dairy cows slaughtered in the UK so far this year has increased, but the cow trade has absorbed the increase in numbers relatively well.