Finishers who stick to their price guns will be rewarded.
13th August 2007
The National Beef Association has urged British finishers to work hard to maintain upward momentum in the prime cattle market despite the loss of the auction system which has accounted for 24 per cent of slaughter cattle sales, including cows, over the past 12 months and the export market which took 11 per cent of beef sales of which 75 per cent was cow beef.
It says upward movements in both deadweight and live weight prices immediately before FMD, confirms a late summer tightening in slaughter cattle supplies and believes this impetus can be maintained as long as the market is not flooded with out of spec cattle, especially cows.
“Some Scottish slaughterers have stood on at 222p for an R4L bullock while others have kicked off at just 216p but the latter could still be persuaded to pay more if finishers don’t just accept the first offer but ring round to make sure they are selling cattle at the best price,” explained NBA director, Kim Haywood.
“At the same time some of the biggest English slaughterers have said they are not going to take advantage of more difficult trading conditions for finishers and have already raised their prices by 2p compared with pre-FMD levels.”
According to the NBA regular deadweight suppliers should be able to prise more money from their buyers if they play their cards right but it concedes that finishers who previously used auction markets are more vulnerable.
“These should avoid the big plants that service supermarkets and concentrate on medium sized, multi-species, abattoirs which sell to butchers and caterers. Many of these companies were purchasing cattle out of markets so some auction finishers will be able to contact their usual buyers direct,” advised Ms Haywood.
“The NBA recommends that all finishers should stick out for at least what they were given up to August 4th and then try to get more. They should remember stocks of UK beef have been depleted due to the week long suspension in slaughtering, and more domestic customers are demanding UK beef not imports.”
“No one should be in a hurry to sell stock and no one should be tempted into selling any animals that are under finished because the latter would be entirely unproductive.”
“Feeders with cows that can put on weight without getting fat should hold them instead of offering them immediately. This especially applies over the coming week while slaughter operations, and the licensing system, are still grinding into gear. No one should be in a hurry to sell,” said Ms Haywood.
“However the situation in Northern Ireland is quite different. Last week’s prices were steady but large volumes of forequarter stocks have already been cleared and the prime cattle market in the Province will no longer be suppressed by the delivery of significant numbers of auction sourced cattle from the British mainland.”
“This suggests much higher prices for Northern Ireland’s finishers while FMD restrictions are maintained in Britain and Northern Ireland alone supplies the export market for British beef.”
For more information contact:
Kim Haywood, NBA director. Tel. 0131 336 1754