Organic livestock

Price data

January 2015

 OLMC logo

Data courtesy of OLMC


Beef - Finished
(under 30 months)

(R4L Base)

Cull Cow
(OTM in spec)


Beef - Stores

 Price changes daily
Contact OLMC (details below)

Lambs - Finished

(R3L Base)

Prices serve as a guide only and are averaged from information collected from key producers and traders.

 Graph of livestock prices - Meadow Quality
Data source for the above graph - Meadow Quality's weekly Market Report.

Market Summary

There was little change to the organic cattle market during the festive period, the supply of prime cattle keeping step with demand. However, more immediately there are signs of a possible shortening as we go into January and February. In part due to the kind 2014 grazing period, in most cases quantities of forage and bedding are adequate to see finishers through to the spring. Also, conception rates for winter/spring born cows are on the whole pretty good. All that is needed is a gradual recovery in the beef price alongside sustained improved demand (is this really too much to ask?). There has been a little forward movement in the demand for cull cows of late, which should see an improvement in the price as we get into February.

The organic lamb market over Christmas and the New Year showed signs of improvement, which may have been due to disruption of supply during the holidays. However, numbers coming forward are slower at the moment, and abattoir demand is reasonable, all helping to fuel a firmer outlook with regard to price. In most cases, abattoirs require lambs entering an abattoir to be belly clipped - especially those that have been grazing on root crops. Dirty lambs entering an abattoir which fail the Meat Hygiene Standard (MHS) requirements will often fall foul of clipping charges, loss of status, and (worst case scenario) being disposed of at cost to the producer. Therefore, please ensure that lambs are clean at loading and not fed just before travel.

The new legislation with regard to sheep identification came into effect from January 1st 2015. Please ensure you understand the requirements. For further information or queries, speak to your lamb buyer regarding individual abattoir requirements going forward.

Tim Leigh, OLMC - 01763 25031

Store Cattle Report:

For the past six months, supplies of organic store cattle have been very low and we are struggling to keep up with demand. We have experienced a number of very poor summers and winters which have meant that store cattle producers were very happy to sell their cattle in the late summer, autumn, and winter. In contrast, the summer of 2014 was a very good grass and forage growing season, which left producers in the enviable position of keeping their stores to bigger weights - or in some cases, finishing the cattle themselves.

Notwithstanding the weather, there are other factors affecting organic store cattle supplies. It is common knowledge that a number of organic producers have come out of organic production for a variety of reasons, and new entrants going into conversion are not keeping up with the numbers going out.

The national suckler herd is in decline. Over a 10 year period we have seen the numbers of beef cows decline by between 1% and 3% per annum, and this decline is bound to have been reflected in the organic sector. The most severe decline in numbers seems to have been in lowland suckler herds in central and southern England and Wales, where the highest numbers of organic stores have traditionally been produced.

Looking ahead, there is without doubt a good future in quality and efficient organic store cattle production. Herds of young, high fertility suckler cows produce good margins. Dairy bred beef cross stores sold at 400/450kgs also show good returns.

OLMC are always available to give advice, and if you have any store cattle to sell please let us know in good time so we can establish the best outlet for your stock..

Peter Jones, OLMC Store Cattle - 01829 730 580 / 07720 892 922