National Beef Association members in Southern England are to
meet later this month to discuss ways of improving income from
the sale of slaughter cattle.
And a move towards the group sale of at least 20,000 head
a year to a single buyer is considered the most likely response
to unrelenting price pressure from the biggest slaughterers in
the region – including Southern Counties Fresh Food, St Merryn
Meat and Chitty Foods.
The group is being led by Buckinghamshire feeder, Ray Lloyd of Valley Farm, Ashenden,
Aylesbury. He will be supported by ChristopherThomas-Everard from Exmoor in Devon,
Frank Momber from Hawkley in Hampshire and Philip Dale from Bridgham in Norfolk.
“Feeders in the South of England and the Midlands rely heavily on a handful
of abattoirs which tend to share the same customers and recently appear to have
made a deliberate move to force purchase prices even further below the national
average,” explained Mr Lloyd.
“Removal of subsidy through de-coupling has made feeders totally dependent
on the market and so it is more important than it ever was for finishers to find
out for themselves which company is willing to pay most for their cattle and
then work hard to make sure this customer gets exactly what they want when they
“We expect the biggest feeders under a line to the south of Birmingham
will be the most likely to respond. Early soundings indicate that even if only
a dozen professionals join in we will have around 20,000 cattle a year at our
disposal which should be enough to make any buyer interested – especially
if supplies shorten.”
“NBA members are approaching this project with a completely open mind.
We will examine all options. Our hope is that we will find buyers who want specially
produced cattle for a premium priced retail market and once we have discovered
who these are we will study their offer and make a decision.”
“Beef farmers have been price takers for too long. Now it is time to assert
ourselves, and our professionalism, to become price makers otherwise we will
continue to have our incomes dictated by people other than ourselves,” Mr
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