Scottish Beef Farmers In Better Position

UK - Market forces, both global and national, have at last shifted in Scottish beef farmers favour – and this offers them a chance to put their business on a more solid financial footing so they are in a better position to face up to a still difficult future, according to the National Beef Association.
calendar icon 12 May 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

NBA Scotland is looking forward to commercial prime cattle prices creeping up towards a previously unthinkable 350p per dwkg as UK, EU cattle supplies continue to tighten over 2011-2012 at the same time as world demand for beef rises.

But the NBA says, the challenges are immense. The industry’s only possible response to soaring cereal costs is to finish cattle using less grain and more grass (or silage) while at the same time breeding more calves from the same number of cows.

And this will have to be achieved using grassland pastures with a good clover content, with carefully applied slurry and manure as the principle fertilisers, while ever-more expensive nitrogen is handled like gold.

On top of this the Scottish industry must prepare itself for the inevitable move from historic to flat rate SFP in 2014 and there is a likelihood of even more cross-compliance demands, all of which add cost, to fall in line with.

“Farmers who treat their post-2014 SFP as a justified payment to cover their cross-compliance costs, and reject the notion that it is to fill the gap between costs of production and market income will be adopting the best mental approach to get over the difficulties that lie ahead,” said Hamish McBean, chairman of NBA Scotland.

“The challenge of breeding and finishing cattle for less than the market price is something beef producers will have to take on themselves and at least producers can be thankful that cattle are expected to get dearer and look forward to an average, 370 kilo, R4L carcase being worth £1,300 a head – which is actually only £150 more than it is now.”

“Help will come from the premium on Scottish bred cattle. There is only one place they can come from and that is Scotland, and as global beef supplies fall increasingly short of world demand there will be consumers, in many locations, who will be willing to pay more than the average so they can get their teeth into the crème de la crème.”

“But economic survival at farm level will depend on producing more beef using fewer inputs which means the future of a beef farmer’s business lies in his own hands. Beef cattle prices are being driven upwards by the same international market forces that are lifting feed, fertiliser and fuel prices.”

“So sticking with cattle is a very positive option but the business will have to reduce its dependence on cereals, fuel and fertiliser use. Raising output by carefully monitoring cow fertility and pushing more store cattle through the shed every 12 months means that the farm will have a better chance of making a genuine profit,”

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.