Calf Registrations Recover with Export Market

UK - Following the lifting of the beef export ban in May 2006, nearly 76,000 mainly dairy-bred calves have travelled to the Continent – predominantly to the Netherlands, Belgium and France – reveals the latest analysis of British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) records by the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX).
calendar icon 26 March 2007
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The records also show GB cattle passport applications totalling 2.77 million in 2006 – up more than 18,000 (or nearly 1%) on the previous year, although still some 175,000 per year down on 2003 and 2004 levels.

Examination of the monthly figures for 2006 indicates the sharp annual decline in calf registrations evident in 2005 continued for the first three months of the year. This, however, was followed by an increase of over 53,000 (2.5%) from April to December as first the prospect then the reality of renewed live exports boosted producer confidence.

The importance of the export trade is underlined by the recovery in Friesian/Holstein bull calf prices at auction recorded by MLC from last April.

Weak demand from the Continental veal trade towards the end of the year and into the beginning of 2007 has been a significant factor in the more recent decline in dairy bull calf prices to only just over £20/head. Even at this level, though, they remained significantly higher than last spring.

This and the confidence the re-opened export market has provided the industry is reflected in early 2007 registration data indicating a continuing year-on-year increase in passport applications.

Strong domestic market fundamentals, with a projected 3% decline in annual slaughterings, continued growth in consumption and a stabilising of imports at below 2005 levels, look likely to ensure the very much firmer UK beef market of 2006 continues through the coming year. Especially so in view of the increasing deficit of manufacturing grade beef, in particular, across the European Union.

Source: Stackyard
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