Beef producers urged to set a price line
Finishers in England who are giving up their slaughter cattle
for less money than those on offer in the Republic of Ireland (ROI)
are being urged by the National Beef Association to stiffen their
sinews and not let their animals be discounted so harshly.
It says Irish prices have dragged well behind those in Britain
for years and immediately before Christmas the R4L steer average
was bumping along at basement levels of 165p-168p while in England
it was at least 10p-15p higher and Scotland enjoyed another 11p-12p
But that has changed since Irish feeders made up their minds that
the only way to react to decoupling was to set a price line and
not give in by selling anything below that," explained the
NBA's chief executive, Robert Forster.
In the ROI a target of 198p was set and as a result of determined
resistance to abattoir pressure to send in cattle for less the
price has jumped by more than 30p per kilo in just three weeks
and is hovering around 196p and could rise further."
In contrast prices in the English Midlands are lagging 15p behind
and they look even more dismal in the South West where the MLC
has confirmed a gap of almost 18p - or just short of £60
on a 330kg carcase."
Now that beef farmers are no longer supported by direct subsidy
they can only make a living if they take more income from the market
and to do this they must be much stronger sellers."
They should set a target of 200p for the end of the month and then
lift the bar higher. They should be in no doubt that slaughterers
who are buying cattle for £50-£70 a head less than
other parts of Britain and Ireland can afford to pay much more."
They won't offer more money if they can get cattle easily and so
finishers across the Midlands and the South should not take the
first price they are offered and hold their animals back until
their value is in line with those being sold elsewhere," Mr