Further tightening of beef cattle supplies both in the UK and in Ireland have resulted in abattoirs increasing their base quotes by another 10p per deadweight kg this week.

As a result, the vast majority are giving 350p per deadweight kg, which is still 5p less than the this time last year and a massive 30p lower than in May 2018.

Interestingly, some individuals are receiving in excess of 365p, with those in the know claiming cattle numbers are so low, farmers are able to ‘name their price,’ before sending animals to slaughter houses.

It’s a similar situation across the Irish Sea too, where prices again improved on the week, with reports of higher prices than those officially quoted especially for the better quality animals that meet current market specifications.

And despite claims that the trade was awash with roasts and steaks, recent data shows that supermarket sales of beef in April increased by a massive 30%, compared to sales of non-meat products such as Quorn, that remained stagnant.

Neil Shand, interim chief executive at the National Beef Association does nevertheless believe the supermarkets deserve some acknowledgement for achieving some carcase balance by promoting the premium cuts through their stores.

“Credit where credit is due, the supermarkets have helped carcase balance through their two steaks for £7 promotions and now the cattle are just not there to buy. Supplies have gone very, very tight, very, very quickly, so ex-farm prices can only increase further in the weeks and months ahead.”

Mr Shand also said the increase in beef sales showed the industry is not as environmentally unfriendly as many continue to portray it as, with the most recent GWP*(star) study demonstrating the full benefits of carbon sequestration, and providing plausible indicators of how beef production can be tailored to a carbon zero state.

“The Coronavirus effect has unwittingly aided beef production by demonstrating the main culprits of carbon emissions with crystal clarity, and it’s not cows!

“The pandemic also appears to demonstrate a social divide within affected communities, with people from poorer social backgrounds showing an increased mortality rate. Although this is likely to be due to a combination of factors, there is some suggestion that it could be linked in part to poor diet.

“High welfare, good quality British beef is in demand, and, at a time when the population’s health is of primary importance, it seems the British public recognise the link between good diet and immunity, and have acted on it,” concluded Mr Shand.