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Stackyard News Aug 06

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    Beef price rises reward finishers for holding cattle back

Feeders have been praised by the National Beef Association for holding back finished cattle so the supply blockage that built up during the recent heat wave could clear.
NBA chairman, Duff Burrell
NBA chairman, Duff Burrell

As a result of their action the NBA says slaughter cattle prices across the UK are beginning to firm up again and the threat of additional premature price falls extending into autumn has been lifted.

"The return of cooler weather has done much to restore demand following the massive, and progressive, slump in retail purchases reported over the second half of July and early August," explained NBA chairman, Duff Burrell.

"But this would not have been enough on its own to trigger the overall 6p-7p per live kilo lift reported by the auction system on a cross-GB basis over the last two weeks and the very welcome lift in deadweight prices that took place last week as soon as traders were faced with much bigger orders for beef and were forced to hunt for the cattle to supply them"

According to the NBA the concerted, cross-UK, effort to minimise income damage by balancing slaughter cattle supplies with reduced demand is evidence that more finishers are becoming adept at responding to market signals.

"Now that market income has become even more important than it was in the past feeders have learned there is little point in throwing cattle at a system that is already choked because not enough beef is being taken off at the retail and catering end," said Mr Burrell.

"Evidence of the effectiveness their actions is plain to see. Last week the Livestock and Meat Commission in Northern Ireland reported a 14 per cent drop in the number of cattle presented for slaughter and it was no accident that NI prices, and those in the Republic of Ireland too, began to lift as abattoir stocks quickly dwindled."

"Similar falls in the volume of cattle available were also reported across GB. One result is that deadweight averages are now 10-11 per cent higher than they were at this time last year and rising at a time some feared they could continue to fall."

"Finishers are being rewarded for having the good sense to hold back cattle until the weather cools. The next time temperatures soar it is likely that the market response will be even quicker now that more farmers appreciate that large volumes of beef are not eaten in a heat wave and it is best to keep supplies back until stocks clear and processors are once again actively searching them out," Mr Burrell added.

link Keep Back Beef Cattle for Cooler Times
link Farmers looking for reassurance from beef labelling inspections
link Plan Ahead Realistically for Finishing Stock Buying
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National Beef Association