Breeders reap the benefits of holding cows

UK - Breeders who kept cull cows back from the crowded November-December market have already benefited from a near 30 per cent lift in value compared with early December when the all-cow deadweight average was flattened to just 117p and beef-bred cows were averaging only 61p at auction.
calendar icon 24 February 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Feeders have also profited from the predictable seasonal lightening of supply from mid-January onwards and last week were able to trade average quality 03 cows for around 144p a dwkg or sell on a market where average quality, beef bred cows, were selling live for a touch over 80p.

Many vendors have sold cows that were substantially heavier than when they were purchased six-10 weeks ago and the best of these well finished animals have once again made well over the £900 a head.

According to the National Beef Association, this development, which was expected once the late autumn/early winter market which absorbs 40 per cent of culls over a short three-month period had cleared, underlines the value of a more careful approach to culling, and selling over the last quarter of 2007.

"Valuable lessons have been re-learned and the message is obvious. Substantial amounts of additional money can be earned in 2008 if culled suckler cows are directed away from the oversupplied late October-early January market," explained NBA chairman, Duff Burrell.

"It is encouraging to see the manufacturing beef trade, some of which is export led, picking up again and if there were any waverers who thought the thriving cull cow market enjoyed over most of 2006 was just a bubble they should now be reassured."

For the NBA confirmation that there is strong underlying demand for cull cows raises many important management issues.

The first is for breeders who have neither the accommodation, or the fodder, to hold back cows culled in late autumn to either offer them to feeders, which is most easily done through the auction system, or make the effort to pull them out earlier than usual and have them sold before queues begin to form from early October.

Source: Farming Life
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