Despite some slight improvement in beef values throughout November and December on the run up to Christmas, averages for the first week of January have reverted back to what was the norm in 2019, with prices down in virtually all sections.

For the week ending January 4, the GB all prime average fell almost 4p on the week to £3.31 per deadweight kg which is not only more than 20p per kg less than the same time last year but also a similar amount lower than the five-year average.

Declines were universal across the prime categories, with the overall steer, heifer and young bull trade in Scotland slipping 1.1p, 2.5p and 9.0p to 346.8p, 345.9p and 320.7p per kg respectively.

The only section to see an improvement was the cow trade which rose marginally by 0.5p to 234.6p in Scotland.

The fall in values were more pronounced south of the Border, with steers, heifers and young bulls dropping 4.7p, 3.4p and 6.6p to 326.0p, 327.8p and 302.8p, respectively.

Again, cow prices in England and Wales were up at 217.5p, plus 6.7p on the week, but then the first half of the year is typically when processor demand is more weighted towards manufacturing beef and cows.