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Stackyard News May 06

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    Beef Expo Set To Kick-Start Beef Export Market

The reopening of the export market for British beef has set the scene for the UK’s national beef event, Beef Expo 2006, to be held at Carlisle on Friday, June 2.

beef cattle

Organisers say the event will provide the springboard to kick-start the export trade for both beef and live cattle which was worth £520 million a year to the British economy before the export ban was imposed in 1996.

“The reopening of the export market is the most significant day for the British beef industry for more than 10 years,” Beef Expo chairman, Ian Watson, told a press-event press conference at Carlisle. “The market is already strengthening in anticipation of exports resuming and further price increases are expected in the coming weeks.”

Mr Watson said inward missions from several European countries, looking for both beef and live cattle, would be present at Beef Expo which augured well for the future.

“There is real excitement in the beef market at the present time and it is encouraging that BSE is now firmly behind us and other countries still want our beef. Beef Expo has come along at just the right time to present British beef to the world market.”

But he warned that beef farmers would have to constantly challenge costs to ensure profitability – even if prices rise – particularly in the light of oil-related cost increases over which they had no control.

“The theme of Beef Expo is “Seeking Solutions” and the main emphasis will be on helping farmers identify areas where costs can be reduced by better feeding and management, improved animal health, superior genetics and focussed marketing,” said Mr Watson.

Beef cattle prices will have to rise even further for suckler herds to achieve profitability, claimed Duff Burrell, chairman of the National Beef Association, which is organising Beef Expo.

“Supermarkets and meat companies have to realise that unless beef producers receive a fair return, they will not continue producing beef in the future,” he said. “The number of beef heifers put to the bull this year is down 10% which will have a knock-on effect on supplies in two years’ time. “

Argentina’s decision to limit beef exports and foot-and-mouth restrictions in Brazil had emphasised the folly of supermarkets depending on imports to top-up shortfalls in home production.

Mr Burrell said that with the re-opening of the export market, beef cattle prices were bound to surge ahead in the next few weeks until a balance was achieved in the market place. UK prices were currently 3% up on last year but the average UK market price for prime cattle at 200p/kg deadweight was still well behind the 235p/kg average in Spain and Portugal and 231p in France.

The disparity in the cow beef price was even more pronounced with UK prices trailing 47p/kg behind the French price.

Beef Expo will be held at Harrison and Hetherington Ltd’s Borderway mart and is expected to attract around 5000 beef farmers from throughout the UK and Ireland, as well as overseas. The event has attracted 110 trade stands and 22 breed demonstrations and other features will include practical demonstrations, a day-long programme of seminars, stockjudging competitions and a new national suckled calf show which has attracted 80 entries.

Speakers at a pre-event beef conference on Thursday, June 1, will be Meat and Livestock Commission export manager, Jean-Pierre Garnier, Keenan chairman, Gerard Keenan, and independent consultant, Peter Cook, former head of rural business at SAC based at Thainstone Centre, Inverurie.

link Biggest Ever Display Of Beef Cattle Breeds At Beef Expo
link Diet Feeder and Straw Chopper Demos at Beef Expo 2006
link Leading Cumbrian Beef Farms To Be Visited During Beef Expo
link Strong Trade Support For Beef Expo
link Opening of beef export markets will break supermarket stranglehold on price
link National Suckled Calf Show At Beef Expo 2006

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