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Stackyard News Mar 06

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Opening of beef export markets will break supermarket stranglehold on price

The re-opening of unrestricted beef sales to other EU countries after mid-April gives UK beef farmers their best chance for ten years to break the supermarket stranglehold on farm prices and introduce life giving competition into a loss making industry.

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So says the National Beef Association as it welcomed today's news that the European Commission's food safety committee (SCOFCAH) has unanimously approved the dismantling of the Date Based Export Scheme (DBES) and opened the way to long awaited re-connection to higher priced EU markets.

“The importance of this decision cannot be overestimated. The export ban has forced our beef industry to suffocate in isolation but now there is a chance it can be revived by the financial oxygen generated through access to a wider range of freer spending customers,” explained NBA chief executive, Robert Forster.

It is expected that the most immediate commercial reaction will be in the manufacturing beef market. An indication of what can be anticipated is given by last week's domestic cull cow average of around 120p dwkg which compares with 159p in Germany , 177p in France , and 166p in the Netherlands.

“As soon as beef from cows born after July 1996 can be exported in sufficient volume UK prices will move closer to those paid elsewhere and everyone offering an export specification animal will benefit,” said Mr Forster.

“Deadweight averages paid for prime cattle look good too with 220p being offered in Spain, 250p in Italy, 228p in France and 220p in Germany while the UK price drags well behind at just 197p.”

“The importance of once again being able to link in with the strong beef market in Continental Europe cannot be underestimated. This applies to live cattle as well as beef.”

“The NBA expects deliveries of pedigree animals to begin as soon as the green light is given in about six weeks time and these could soon be followed by the sale of weaned suckler calves into Spain and Italy and dairy bred calves into the Netherlands and France.”

“This activity will raise the value of all cattle across the UK and add much needed value to farm balance sheets as well as give a welcome lift to incomes on breeding farms.”

“Domestic legislation in France and Germany, which despite the SCOFCAH decision still blocks beef deliveries from UK, must be lifted before the EU market is completely open to our product but moves in France, which is by far the more important of the two, are already being made and there is widespread expectation of a quick result,.” Mr Forster added.

link Savage Chicago style retail price cuts are suicidal
link National Suckled Calf Show At Beef Expo 2006
link Finishers should resist abattoir moves to pull down prime cattle prices

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National Beef Association