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Stackyard News Jan 08

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Poor Cattle Prices are History says NBA

Any finisher from any part of the UK who sells an R grade steer for less than 235p per dwkg this week is giving the animal away.

beef cattle

So says the National Beef Association which wants to make sure every beef farmer in the country understands that last year’s poor prices are history and new price making rules for British style cattle are being written in the Republic of Ireland (ROI).

“Last week the confirmed average for Irish R4 steers was 235p per dwkg, compared with as little as 195p immediately before Christmas, and feeders who pushed hard for a better price were being paid up to 247p” explained NBA director Kim Haywood.

“At the same time R classification heifers were being purchased to a top of 252p, the average price for suckler bred bulls was 243p and even dairy cows were evening out at around 195p.”

“All of these prices are authentic, none of them are figments of the imagination and in these circumstances it is amazing that some of the UK’s biggest slaughterers have still only pushed their prices above 220p while even Scottish abattoirs are buying cattle at well below the ROI’s new levels.”

According to the NBA it is imperative that all feeders counter higher costs, and repair their incomes, by demanding prices that are at least level with those being paid in the Irish Republic which until four weeks ago were standing as much as 25p-35p below the UK average.

“The ROI imports almost half of its production into the UK and a huge proportion of this is sold through supermarkets which are able to balance their new cost problem by asking suppliers to concentrate on cheaper British cattle,” said Ms Haywood.

“The UK’s beef farmers cannot allow this to happen. After years of waiting they are at last facing a sellers market and must do their utmost to wrestle every penny of gain they can from it,”

“No one who is selling slaughter cattle deadweight should be accepting the first price offer. If Irish farmers can squeeze another 7p-8p above a general quotation of 235p for R4 steers there is no reason why British farmers cannot do the same.”

“Cattle supplies are dropping right across the EU and imports cannot cover the new supply/demand gap because a very hungry Russia is mopping up every bit of spare beef it can lay its hands on.”

“On top of this further price rises are being built in to the market from March onwards because Brazil, which last year sold 350,000 tonnes of steak and striploin into the EU, faces new, and severe, restrictions on the number of cattle from which these can be taken.”

“Everything points to a massive rise in EU demand for steak cuts in as little as five weeks time and because no new import sources can be used as substitutes for Brazilian beef all cattle killed inside the EU will become even more valuable.”

“The current rise in cattle values is no flash in the pan. It is the beginning of a supply led move that will be progressively tilted even further in the beef farmer’s favour and they must take full advantage of it by refusing to let any cattle go for less than is already being paid in Ireland,” Ms Haywood added.

link The Outlook for Red Meat - Outlook 2008
link Beef Production on the Rise in China
link Beef Price Tide is Turning - NBA

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