Beef cattle finishers can breath a sigh of relief with deadweight values slowly but surely nudging north again.

With store cattle prices at record levels for most of this year, the 30-35p per deadweight kg drop in clean cattle prices in Scotland over the past month has been cause for concern.

However, with Easter past and the traditional increased demand for lamb at such times, the population appears to be turning back to beef which in turn has seen improved prices over the past 10 days.

Despite some finishers being quoted prices as low as 470p per dwkg for beef cattle, latest figures from AHDB for the week ending April 12, show the All Steer and Heifer prices in Scotland improved by 1.8p and 1.7p, at 491.5p and 492.8p respectively. Steers hitting the R4L specification were trading at 494.7p with the equivalent amongst the heifers at 495.4p.

Similarly, the All Young Bull average was 468.1p, up 2.3p on the previous seven days, with carcases grading R3 making 482.1p.

Cows improved by a massive 12.4p on the week in Scotland to level at 386.7p, with an extra 15p per dwkg available for R4L carcases. With cattle numbers restricted, and just small signs that spring is in the air, demand for beef is predicted to grow in the coming weeks, along with ex-farm prices.

“January and February have been tremendous months for beef sales whereas March has been driven by sales of lamb for Easter and Ramadan,” Neil Shand, chief executive of the National Beef Association told The Scottish Farmer.

“There was demand for beef in March but it’s not been the weather for roast beef or burgers. But, we’re now heading towards May and the month of bank holidays and barbecues which is always good news for beef sales,” he said adding that he expects finished beef prices to continue improving back up to where they were in February.

“There is a very strong global demand for beef and there is also growing demand for all types of meat in this country when you think the population of the UK is increasing as much as the size of Glasgow (1.7m people) every year.”

Looking at the global market, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) outlook forecasts a tight supply of beef on the world stage in 2024, with Ireland and the EU experiencing reduced production volumes.