Higher prices for all cattle are essential for the future security
of the beef industry and if domestic retailers continue to react
slowly to the re-introduction of export trading the quickest
way to encourage the necessary lift is to sell as many live animals
as possible into premium priced markets elsewhere in the EU,
the National Beef Association said today.
Now that there is open access to the single market it wants
the new levels of price competitiveness to be underlined by a
serious effort to deliver thousands of veal calves, store cattle,
cull cows, slaughter stock and pedigree animals to higher paying
EU customers so the live price in the UK can be re-inflated and
thousands of farm balance sheets radically improved.
"The opportunity for the beef industry to rescue itself
has been offered by export re-connection and it must not be turned
down. The speediest possible link must be made with those markets
in the EU which pay much more for cattle, and beef, than is paid
inside the UK," explained NBA chief executive, Robert Forster.
The Association wants beef farmers to be clear headed and tough
minded about this because nothing less than the long term survival
of their businesses is at stake.
"If the multiples will not react to export re-opening by
allowing their processor-suppliers to pay more for beef cattle
in this country then it is obvious that the only way to lift
stock values to the levels enjoyed elsewhere in the EU is to
sell as many animals as possible directly into these new markets," said
"Once a significant cross-Channel trade has been established
the next phase will be to convince the supermarkets that if they
are still stubborn about price lifts they will lose even more
cattle to buyers who are keen to top up the ever expanding supply
deficits that exist elsewhere in the EU."
"Domestic buyers must understand that if they want home
produced cattle, and they want to build secure supply chains
in the face of a shrinking world surplus, they will have to pay
much more for them than they are doing now."
"They have to realise that if they want UK beef they will
have to put their hands in their pockets. Live exports will give
an immediate lift to the value of UK cattle and it will then
be up to processors to convince their customers that if they
do not pay the same price as their EU competitors it will become
increasingly difficult to meet their orders."
"Export resumption will allow the UK beef sector to take
a specialist role serving Europe's highest paying markets and
if the multiples want to meet this challenge they will have to
beat the competition."
"Live cattle for slaughter elsewhere in the EU need no
TB test and the market for weaned suckled calves, which has already
taken 30,000 animals out of the Republic of Ireland this year
will soon establish itself across the UK too."
"Some feeders will be alarmed if the higher store cattle
prices are not countered by a proportionate lift in the value
of finished animals but they too can supply the live export market
with slaughter stock - and if the multiples decide they too can
pay higher prices then finishers can continue to supply them
too," Mr Forster added.
Seminar Programme At Beef Expo
export update at NBA AGM in Hexham
Fight to establish post-export price levels for prime cattle has begun
fuelled price rises not enough on own to rescue beef industry
AGM in Hexham a "must attend" meeting