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Target British-Only Beef For Best Prices

03 February 2010

UK - English and Welsh finishers who want to be sure of always receiving the best price for their cattle should build arrangements with abattoirs supplying retailers committed to exclusively selling British beef – and avoid those which regularly mix in imported beef when making up their orders.

This advice comes from the National Beef Association which says processors supplying companies like Morrisons, Waitrose, M&S and The Co-op, are prepared to pay up to 285p a dwkg for commercial, R4L steers and heifers, because they are committed to a British-only sourcing policy and need to pay more to make sure they handle enough cattle.

In contrast slaughterers who are more relaxed about British cattle supplies because they regularly include a proportion of imported beef, most often from the Republic of Ireland, when making up their orders are, in some cases, offering as little as 270p and an unusually wide, 15p price range, for commercial stock has developed.

“There can be no doubt that the commitment of some retailers, and some suppliers, to British-only sourcing policies has prevented companies which are less fussy about handling imports, from crashing the domestic cattle price still further,” explained NBA director, Kim Haywood.

“Many processors want to see mid-January’s big price fall repeated. However their plans are being foiled by abattoirs which have held up the market because they are committed to buying exclusively British cattle, and are prepared to pay up to £50 a head more for in-spec carcases weighing 340kg, so they can be sure they get them.”

According to the NBA further attempts by companies which are not committed to purchasing British-only cattle to force a drop in price can still be expected.

“Even prices at the 285p end of the market are not enough to cover feed and store cattle purchasing costs and anything approaching 270p or less is a disaster,” said Ms Haywood.

“There can be no doubt which buyers are best to trade with and the situation will be underlined even more dramatically in future when the premium paid for British cattle, by British-only processors, becomes even wider.”

“The NBA’s advice to feeders who seek long term income security, and are prepared to turn out good specification cattle to a regular buyer, is to give up on the poor payers and cement a relationship with the companies which will always be sitting at the top end of the price league table.”

TheCattleSite News Desk


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