The National Beef Association is advising finishers to keep a watchful
eye on slaughter cattle numbers this autumn and use their adjustment
skills to make sure supplies are even and choke points do not develop
in the system.
It says there is no obvious danger of an overload of cattle
on the market but is mindful that there are clear benefits for
everyone if as much as possible is done to control supplies and
minimise the chances of unnecessary price slippage.
"The overall situation is encouraging with the current UK
prime cattle average 12-14 per cent higher that it was at this
time last year when the industry was stunned by a price avalanche
that rumbled right through to mid-October," said NBA chairman,
"The situation in the Republic of Ireland where there is
a traditional surge of grass cattle onto the market is hopeful
too. Currently prices there are 13-15 per cent higher than they
were twelve months ago and there are consistent reports that more
Irish cattle were killed earlier this year and that a repeat of
last autumn's especially dramatic supply rush is not expected."
And with imports from South America, which made a hefty contribution
to last year's price collapse, also being nipped by political,
economic, and disease restraints the Association believes one of
the crucial factors affecting stability this season will be domestic
management of prime cattle and cull cow supplies.
"The NBA is not among those who think the market will be
swamped by a massive, autumn, delivery of cull cows," said
"Our view is that the August 1996 birth date cut off is too
early for the oldest sucklers that qualify for food chain entry
to be culled out on a batch basis which suggests that those that
do come forward from the beef herd are most likely to be individual
animals that are judged not be fit for breeding."
"It is also significant that cow prices in the Republic of
Ireland are 13-14 per cent higher than they were a year ago."
"On the dairy side we are also expecting more domestic finishers
to take Grade 2 and Grade 3 feeding cows off the market and present
them later when they will not only have put on more weight but
in pence per kilo terms could be worth more money too."
"Cull cow prices across the UK have already made a useful
recovery since the slide in mid-August and on this basis the Association
anticipates that more feeders will be encouraged to invest in cows
rather than let them move directly off the breeding farm into the
"Prime cattle finishers can make their own contribution by
remembering that chill room stocks for Christmas are mainly built
up from the end of October onwards and that consumer demand for
beef across both the UK and Europe has not looked better for almost
20 years," Mr Burrell added.
Cattle to 4,500gns at Carlisle
NBA asks Bord Bia for clarification on beef exports to UK
Keep Back Beef Cattle for Cooler Times